By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Jon Lipsitz is in his fourth season as the head coach of the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team and during that time he has taken the program to new heights and established himself among the winningest coaches in Southeastern Conference history.
Lipsitz sat down with the SEC Digital Network on Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including this season, facility upgrades and his long-term vision for the program.
SEC Digital Network: You’re coming off a pair of big SEC wins this weekend. What did you learn about your team during the opening two league matches?
Jon Lipsitz: “I knew before the conference matches that when we play our way, we’re capable of doing good things. At the same time, I know that on any given day, we can lose. We’re trying to be very level-headed and just worry about the things we can control every day in practice. We can’t control wins and losses, but we can control the way we play.”
SEC Digital Network: With the large number of young players on your roster this year, how have you gotten those players to make the transition to the collegiate game and come together as part of your team?
Jon Lipsitz: “Coming together is easy with the culture we’ve developed. We spend so much time getting to know what type of people these players are in the recruiting process, and their families, so that by the time someone gets to UK, they are already part of the family. Coming together is easy because they chose to come here and I don’t think it’s a challenge. I don’t think that’s something I have been focused on as much as the leadership of this team has, and they’ve done a fantastic job in bringing us together every day, making it a shared experience and making it special.”
SEC Digital Network: Kentucky has recently announced facility upgrades for the soccer complex; how important is that for your program?
Jon Lipsitz: “I think it’s huge. It always feels good to be supported and to know that we’re expected to do what we’re doing – to represent the athletic department and the university well. We really appreciate it. If you look at what’s been done recently at UK with facilities – a new track was just completed and the softball complex is going to be completed in time to host the SEC Tournament next spring – what’s going on right now is really special. A huge thanks to Mitch Barnhart and the administration.”
SEC Digital Network: What were the spoken goals and expectations for your team entering this season?
Jon Lipsitz: “For me, absolutely nothing. I know I may be different than a lot of coaches, but I don’t set goals except for getting better every day. If we are, first and foremost, great in the classroom, great members of our community and great teammates, and we work to be our best every day, then wins will come from that. I’m not a believer in looking ahead and saying ‘We are going to have this record,’ or ‘We are going to do this in the postseason.’ I believe in living in the now and being our best today as teammates on and off the field and then, because of that, we try to be better tomorrow and the next day. It’s not right or wrong, everybody is different. I just very much enjoy today and our time together.”
SEC Digital Network: You’re in your fourth season at Kentucky; how does the program’s progress compare to where you wanted it to be when you first started?
Jon Lipsitz: “I am very happy with where we are, but we’re not there yet. I am proud of the work that all of us together have done and that goes from the administration to the coaches to the support staff and mostly to the players and their families. That doesn’t mean that we’re satisfied or we’re finished. We want so much more – how do we get there? We get better tomorrow. I always bring it back to that - to be your best tomorrow and move on from there. Obviously, I’m very proud of what we’ve done and I’m very proud of the players, but that’s only good enough for today.”