The Lady Eagles have a new leader. John Brown hired Kathleen Paulsen, the director of soccer operations at the University of Arkansas, as their women’s soccer head coach. She will replace Scott Markberry, who became the men’s coach to replace the departing John Miglarese.
This will not be Paulsen’s first experience with John Brown. She was an assistant coach for Marksberry in 2011 before leaving to take a similar job at her alma mater, the U of A.
Her previous experience made her a front-runner for the job.
“Since she had already been here and we already knew her, we [wanted to] see if she was interested in [coaching] full time,” said Director of Athletics Robyn Daugherty. “She’s a great fit, she’s going to be a phenomenal coach.”
Paulsen played for the Razorbacks from 2006-2010 and played for Real Colorado of the United Soccer Leagues W-League.
“She’s played the game at a high level and she expects soccer to be played at a high level,” said Daugherty. “As a coach she really pushes the girls’ competitive level to get the most out of them.”
The players, who got to see Paulsen’s coaching style in person when she ran practices as assistant coach, agree.
“Practices are going to be hard. She’s going to run them almost like they are at [the University of] Arkansas,” said sophomore midfielder Madi Susmilch. “She’s going to … expect perfection in everything that we do.”
Despite the hard knocks approach, the players reacted positively to the hire.
“I was super excited,” Susmilch said. “My anxiety was gone, I’m perfectly ok with it.”
Junior forward Savannah Stauffer said Paulsen’s previous experience with the team means she already knows most of the players and that makes the hire a popular one with the team.
“She has an edge being here [before] because she knows how the team is run and knows how the girls play and how we interact with each other,” Susmilch said. “She has coach Marksberry to help her out and she has plenty of friends here that will guide her.”
Paulsen will look to continue the success of the soccer team on and off the field under Marksberry.
Part of that means a continued emphasis on biblical principles and player relationships, both cornerstones of Marksberry’s coaching philosophy.
“Marksberry was telling us that [Paulsen] was one of the only coaches that had bought into his coaching style,” said Susmilch. “I think she’ll improve the program greatly.”
Paulsen definitely has the stamp of approval from Marksberry, who called her to see if she was interested in the job before he decided to take the men’s job.
“I think she’s going to do a great job here.” Marksberry said. “I could not imagine a better fit for the women’s soccer program.”