Already blessed with a storied history, women's soccer at NC State began a new and exciting chapter when Laura Kerrigan was named head coach on December 8, 1997.
An All-American player and a 4.0 student at NC State from 1985-88, Kerrigan is the fourth head coach in the history of the school's women's soccer program. She is entering her eight season as head coach.
Kerrigan, who returned to her alma mater after three seasons as an assistant coach at American University, began her coaching career at William & Mary in the fall of 1989, serving as an assistant coach. She took a similar position at Colorado College in 1990 and helped coach that program to a 16-3-2 record and a berth in the NCAA Final Four.
Following her season at Colorado College, Kerrigan returned to William & Mary in the fall of 1991 and stayed two more years, serving as an assistant coach while finishing her law degree. The Tribe went 40-15-2 during Kerrigan's three seasons (1989, `91 and `92) on head coach John Daly's staff, including marks of 14-4-2 in 1989 and 16-4 in 1992. William & Mary advanced to the NCAA Regional finals twice in Kerrigan's three years in Williamsburg.
Kerrigan completed her Juris Doctorate degree from William & Mary's Marshall Wythe School of Law in May 1993 and spent one year as a judicial clerk to the Supreme Court of Alaska while coaching the Alaska United U-19 club team in Anchorage. Upon returning to the "lower 48," Kerrigan joined Colleen Corwell's staff as an assistant coach at American in August 1995. American posted a 30-27-2 record during Kerrigan's three years on the staff, including a school-record 13-6-1 mark in 1996, when American pulled off an upset win over George Mason and a tie with James Madison, both of which were in the top 20 at the time.
As an undergraduate at NC State from 1985-89, Kerrigan was one of the most honored and accomplished student-athletes in school history. Athletically, she was one of the best ever to play women's soccer for the Wolfpack and was one of the cornerstones of the program as NC State established itself as a women's soccer powerhouse in the mid and late-1980s. She joined the program in just its second year of existence and before graduating captained the Wolfpack to the 1988 ACC championship and the NCAA's national championship game.
Kerrigan earned All-America honors in 1985 and 1986, her freshman and sophomore seasons. She led the Wolfpack in shots on goal, goals scored and total points both seasons. She moved from forward to midfielder prior to her junior season, and while her offensive stats dropped accordingly, her importance to the Wolfpack program remained constant.
Kerrigan finished her career as NC State's all-time leader in shots with 228, goals scored with 53 and total points with 135. She still ranks second in the NC State and eighth in the ACC record books in career points, and second and seventh in career goals scored. Her 54 points in 1986 rank as the second-best single-season total in school history.
Kerrigan's individual success was mirrored by team accomplishments for the program. During Kerrigan's four years in Raleigh, the Wolfpack posted an overall record of 63-18-9, including a 36-6-4 mark her junior and senior seasons. While Kerrigan was at NC State, the Wolfpack won an ACC championship, made four NCAA Tournament appearances, and twice advanced to the NCAA Final Four.
As a senior in 1988, Kerrigan helped lead the Wolfpack to a 19-2-3 record and a No. 2 national ranking. NC State that year won the inaugural ACC Tournament (Kerrigan's penalty kick in the championship game provided the winning point) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's national championship game.
Academically, Kerrigan was a three-time Academic All-American and won the H.C. Kennett Award in 1989 as NC State's top student-athlete after maintaining a 4.0 GPA for four years in accounting. She made the NC State Dean's List eight times, was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference's Honor Roll four times, and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Kerrigan concluded her academic career by graduating summa cum laude and serving as class valedictorian for NC State's class of 1989. A candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, she was a recipient of the Marie James Postgraduate Scholarship, awarded annually by the ACC, and then won a prestigious $4,000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
In addition to her work at American University, Kerrigan served from 1995-97 as head coach of the Maryland U-16 Olympic Development Program, and she has worked as a camp director and coach at the NC State Girls' Soccer Camp and various other camps.
Aside from coaching, Kerrigan has remained active in soccer as a player. She played from 1995-97 for the Maryland Pride/Baltimore Bays of the USWISL, and was national tournament MVP in 1996 when she led the team to the USWISL national championship. She played for the 1995 and 1996 Virginia Women's State Team, and for the SA United Club Team from 1994-97, winning the national championship in 1996 and '97.
A member of the United States Soccer Coaches Organization and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Kerrigan holds a United States Soccer Federation "A" license, and an "Advanced National" license from the NSCAA. Kerrigan was named to the NSCAA national coaching staff in January 1999. She is also extremely active on the ODP Regional staff. Married to Tony Watkins and and the couple has a son, Samuel.