“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Wes Hart as the new head soccer coach at The University of Alabama,” said Battle. “Wes brings a unique and distinctive background that spans across all major levels of elite soccer, including being a national champion as a player, club coach and Division I women’s soccer assistant coach just a season ago. I am confident that Wes’s array of experiences will successfully translate and resonate with our entire soccer program. I strongly believe that Wes will be an excellent head coach, and will provide our student-athletes with ample opportunities for success on and off the field.”
Hart was instrumental in leading the Florida State Seminoles to their first national championship in 2014, his second season on the staff. Hart's primary responsibilities with the Seminoles included planning the offensive attack, assisting with player development and video analysis, along with other recruiting and scouting duties.
“I am grateful for my time at Florida State,” said Hart. “I had the privilege of working for the best coach in women’s college soccer. My two years working for Coach (Mark) Krikorian and with (assistant coach) Mike Bristol are invaluable. I learned things that cannot be taught by taking a coaching course or reading a book. For two years, I lived it. When you see the amount of time and attention that goes into everything they do, it’s not hard to realize why FSU is on top right now.”
In just two seasons at Florida State, Hart helped develop a balanced offensive attack that resulted in 407 points on 129 goals and 149 assists. The Seminoles won two back-to-back ACC championships, made two College Cup appearances, and posted a national runner-up finish and a national title. Two Seminoles garnered All-America honors during Hart’s time in Tallahassee: Dagny Brynjarsdottir (2013 & 2014) and Cheyna Williams (2014). Brynjarsdottir went on to post career highs in points (38), goals (16) and shots (87) in her final season at Florida State, finishing as the runner-up for 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy.
“Wes is an outstanding coach with a great background in the game,” said Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian. “He is a hard worker and I am fully confident that he will bring the Alabama program to new heights. Wes undoubtedly played an integral part in helping us win the national championship this past year.”
During FSU’s run to the national title in 2014, the Seminoles ranked in the top three in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in every major offensive category, while leading the league with a school-record 90 assists. Florida State scored multiple goals in 18 of 26 games, including four times during the NCAA Tournament.
A native of Littleton, Colo., Hart began his coaching career after spending eight years (2005-12) in a variety of roles with the Colorado Rush, one of the premier soccer clubs in the country. In his last three years with the Rush, Hart held the title of Director of Coaching Academy where he oversaw the girls ECNL teams and the boys US Development Academy teams. During his time with the Rush, Hart was involved in four national championships, including three as an assistant and one as head coach. Hart has coached several US Youth National Team players, including Lindsey Horan, who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in France.
Before entering the coaching ranks, Hart played six seasons of professional soccer in the MLS (Major League Soccer). He was selected as the seventh overall pick in the 2000 MLS Super Draft by the Colorado Rapids. In four seasons with the Rapids (2000-03), Hart appeared in 68 regular season games making 60 starts. He also started seven of 10 MLS playoff games during that time. His final two seasons in the MLS came with the San Jose Earthquakes as he appeared in 25 games making 14 starts. Hart was honored as the MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2000 and 2001.
“My background as a player has certainly helped me in my coaching,” said Hart. “I know what is realistic and what is not. I know exactly what type of commitment it takes to be a successful college soccer player and what it takes to be a pro. I’m fortunate to have played for a variety of coaches along the way. I played for three different coaches in college and three in MLS. Much of what I do as a coach today is based off of my playing experiences with those coaches.”
Hart began his collegiate playing career at the University of Wisconsin before transferring to the University of Washington for his final two seasons (1998-99). With the Huskies, Hart garnered third team All-America accolades in 1998 and second team honors in 1999. He was honored as a first team Scholar All-American by the NSCAA in 1999, was a two-time first team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) honoree and was named the MPSF Player of the Year in 1999.
Hart is married to the former Jamie Martini. The couple are the parents of two children, Dominic (8) and Grace (6).