Former MSU soccer standout Damon Rensing became the fifth head coach in Spartan history on January 1, 2009 after taking over for the legendary Joe Baum, who guided MSU for 32 seasons. The 2015 campaign is Rensing's seventh as head coach, after serving as an assistant coach for 10 seasons at his alma mater. In six years, Rensing has compiled an impressive 69-44-27 record (.589).
Rensing was named MSU's head coach designate on Aug. 14, 2008 after Baum decided to make 2008 his final season as head coach.
Rensing has spent nearly half his life in the Green and White with four years as varsity letterwinner, one season as an assistant with the women's program and 10 seasons in his previous position.
In his first six years as head coach, the Spartans have made five NCAA tournament campaigns, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2013 and 2014. The Spartans ended the 2014 season with a 12-5-6 record overall and were 4-2-2 in Big Ten action.
The 2013 season also saw Rensing named the NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year, while Kevin Cope earned All-America honors and was eventually selected as the 25th pick in the MLS Super Draft. Fatai Alashe was selected as the fourth pick overall by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. His selection in the first round of the draft marks the highest-ever in school history, surpassing first-round pick Doug DeMartin in 2009.
In 2012, he guided MSU to its third Big Ten Tournament title in school history as the Spartans topped Michigan in overtime, 2-1.
Under Rensing's leadership, the Spartans have received 20 All-Big Ten and 14 NSCAA All-Region selections, in addition to nine players that were named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team.
The Spartans' performance in the classroom during Rensing's tenure has been equally impressive. Over the last six years, MSU has received 60 Academic All-Big Ten selections and 27 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar selections.
During his 10 years as an assistant at Michigan State, Rensing helped lead the Spartans to the 2004 and 2008 Big Ten Tournament championships as well as the 2008 conference regular-season crown. Rensing was instrumental in helping the program to its first four trips to the NCAA Tournament (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2008) since 1969.
During his time as an assistant, Rensing tutored 15 different First Team All-Big Ten performers and nine different NSCAA-All Region honorees. Rensing also worked with three NSCAA All-America selections - Ryan McMahen (2005), Doug DeMartin (2008) and Jay Chapman (2014). Both McMahen (80 points, 26 goals) and DeMartin (85 points, 38 goals) rank in the MSU all-time top 10 in both points and goals.
Seven players Rensing has recruited and coached, including John Minagawa-Webster (2005), McMahen (2006), Kevin Reiman (2008), Rauwshan McKenzie (2008), DeMartin (2009), Cope (2013) and Alashe (2015) have been drafted by MLS teams.
Rensing began his coaching career in 1997 when he assisted with the MSU women's soccer team before moving to UNLV when former MSU women's assistant Staci Hendershott was appointed head coach of that program. While at UNLV, he helped that club to an overall record of 8-10-1 along with a No. 3 national ranking for first-year programs. In addition, he coached the Las Vegas Premier Soccer U-17 Team to a state championship.
After one year at UNLV, Rensing returned to East Lansing in 1999 where he became an assistant coach on Baum's staff. In 2004, Rensing was promoted to associate head coach following the 2004 season.
Rensing was a four-time letterwinner and three-year starter for MSU (1993-96). His senior year saw him capture All-Big Ten first-team recognition after picking up 14 points on five goals and four assists. He was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree as a sophomore and junior. During his four years, he played in 74 matches, 55 as a starter, totaling seven goals and 13 assists for 27 points.
Rensing earned his bachelor's degree from MSU in communication in 1997. He married the former Daune Koester in May 2004. The couple has two children, Anna and Drew.
Wassermann comes to East Lansing after four successful seasons as the head coach at Saginaw Valley State University. In 2014, Saginaw Valley State reached the Division II NCAA Tournament Round of 16, ending the season with a 14-5-2 record. In 2012, Wassermann led the Cardinals to the NCAA Division II National Championship match, setting school records in wins (18).
Wassermann has a stellar pedigree, earning NSCAA National Soccer Coach of the Year honors in 2012. He also earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) honors in both 2011 and 2012. During his tenure at Saginaw Valley State 25 players earned All-GLIAC honors as well as 16 NSCAA All-Midwest selections in five seasons. In the classroom, four players earned NSCAA Scholar All-American honors. Wassermann departs SVSU with an overall record of 64-23-17 and as the winningest coach in program history.
Prior to coaching at SVSU, Wassermann was an assistant coach at Lewis University from 2008-09. In 2008, the Flyers advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Final before being eliminated in a penalty shootout to eventual Final Four participant, Northern Kentucky. In 2009, the Flyers returned to the Regional Championship match, defeating No. 2 Drury University. Wassermann and the Flyers went all the way to the NCAA Division II Final Four, being eliminated in a shootout to Lees-McRae.
In 2006 and 2007, Wassermann was a volunteer assistant coach for the men's soccer team at Saginaw Valley State, focusing on player development. He has experience at many quality soccer camps, including camps at Michigan State, Western Michigan, Lynn University, Lewis University and the Mid-Michigan Soccer Academy. In 2006, he served as the head coach of the junior varsity boys' soccer team at Saginaw Heritage High School and was the head trainer for the 2007 Saginaw Sting U-17 Boys travel team and Saginaw Township Soccer Association's youth teams.
As a player, Wassermann played four years of soccer at Saginaw Valley State, graduating in 2007 with a bachelor's of arts degree in Communication. He was team captain and named first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in 2004 and 2005 In high school, he was named first team All-State twice.
Former Spartan midfielder Ben Pirmann joined the MSU coaching staff in the fall of 2011. Pirmann replaced his former collegiate coach Joe Baum, who announced his retirement after nearly four decades on the Spartan sideline.
In his four seasons back at his alma mater, Pirmann has been involved in all aspects of the program. In 2014, Pirmann and the Spartans advanced to their second-straight NCAA Elite Eight with a 12-5-6 overall record. During the 2013 campaign, Pirmann helped guide the Spartans to a record-breaking season as MSU earned a program-record 14 wins en route to a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time since 1968. In 2012, he helped the Spartans claim their third Big Ten Tournament title in school history. Pirmann has been a part of each - in 2004 and 2008 as a player, and in 2012 as a coach.
Before returning to MSU, Pirmann spent previous two seasons (2009-10) as an assistant coach at Western Michigan and was involved in all facets of the Bronco program, with his primary responsibilities including the areas of compliance, recruiting, travel, video analysis, camps and scouting. Pirmann was a large part of the rebuilding process at Western Michigan in those two years, which saw the Broncos return to the upper echelon of the Mid-American Conference. In 2009, WMU doubled its win total from the previous year with a 6-10-1 record and took third in the MAC, going 3-2-1 in league play. Additionally, the Brown & Gold advanced to the conference tournament semifinals for the first time in the last four years.
Western Michigan had one of the most successful seasons in school history in 2010, reaching the conference tournament championship for just the third time ever and finishing as runners-up in the regular season, only behind national champion Akron. The Broncos posted an overall record of 10-8-2, going 4-2-0 in MAC play, and finished the year ranked No. 10 in the Great Lakes Region.
A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at Michigan State, Pirmann concluded his career with the Spartans in the fall of 2008, helping lead MSU to a Big Ten Championship. Pirmann was also part of the Spartan squad that won the Big Ten title in 2004. He was part of NCAA Tournament teams in 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Pirmann earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Michigan State in May 2008 and also earned a master's degree in kinesiology with a concentration in coaching the following year. During his playing career, Pirmann was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and also earned the team's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2008. The former Spartan midfielder had one career goal and 13 career assists. He took a medical redshirt year in 2007, so he is the only player to play on both of MSU's two Big Ten Championship teams (2004 and 2008). In his career, the Spartans went 4-0 against Michigan and made three NCAA Tournament appearances. "Ben has been a part of some of the most important games and most successful seasons in recent history here at MSU," added Rensing. "Hopefully the current players use Ben's experience as a student-athlete as well as his proficiency as a coach as a great resource. Ben will help us continue to strive for the type of seasons that he enjoyed as an undergrad, and help us build upon our recent successes."
Pirmann, who also played for the West Michigan Edge (2007-08) and Indiana Invaders (2005-06), has been a USSF licensed coach since 2006, and currently holds a National B license. He helped the team as a student assistant coach at Michigan State in his medical redshirt season, and continued his duties following his final playing season while working on his graduate degree. In addition, he has worked a variety of high school and youth camps across the nation, including those at Michigan State and Notre Dame.
Voulunteer Assistant Coach
Bret Mollon enters his first season as the men's soccer volunteer assistant coach.
"We are really excited to welcome Bret to the Michigan State soccer family," MSU head coach Damon Rensing said. "Bret had several qualities and experiences that jumped right out at us. He is very good at training goalkeepers. Being a former Division I goalie, he knows the level and what is expected both in training and in games. Bret's personality will relate to our players very well. Bret also grew up in the state of Michigan and his family has ties to MSU. When you combine all of these qualities, he is a great fit for Michigan State soccer."
Mollon joins Michigan State after three successful seasons as the assistant goalkeepers coach at Coastal Carolina University. The Chanticleers made the NCAA tournament in all three of Mollon's seasons and were ranked as high as fourth in the country during the 2015 campaign, the highest ranking in school history. In his first season at CCU, his goalkeepers set the school and conference record for shutouts in a season with 12 and followed it up with a Big South Championship in 2014.
"First and foremost, I would like to thank Shaun Docking, Kyle Russell and Paul Hogan for giving me an opportunity with the Coastal Carolina Soccer programs. I am lucky to have started my coaching career with such great people, and I am very thankful for everything I learned there. I am extremely excited to be working with the Michigan State men's soccer team," Mollon said. "I would like to thank Damon Rensing for giving me this opportunity to work with his program. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with a program with such a great history and a brighter future."
Mollon also spent two seasons as an assistant with the Coastal Carolina women's soccer program, helping their goalkeepers establish new school records for shutouts and fewest goals allowed in a season.
"Bret comes to us from a successful program in Coastal Carolina," Rensing said. "Shaun Docking is a very good college coach, so having Bret learn from Shaun has provided him with a great start to his college coaching career."
Mollon earned a kinesiology degree from Temple University in 2012 and spent three years starring on the school's soccer team. He finished his career with a goals against average of 0.80 (a school record) and captained the team as a senior. Mollon ranks second all-time in Temple's record book with 25 career wins to go with 21 career shutouts. In 2008, he set the Temple school record for shutouts in a single season with nine and was a Soccer News Net nominee for national player of the year.
Prior to Temple, Mollon was a Summit League All-Academic honoree as a freshman, while at Oakland University. A native of Washington, Mich., Mollon also won a national championship with the Michigan Bucks of the PDL in 2006 and participated in a USL combine as well as preseason action with the Harrisburg City Islanders. He's also spent time with the NPSL's Detroit City FC as a player and goalkeeping coach.
"Michigan State has a great reputation for developing student athletes into model citizens in the community and producing successful professional athletes, and I'm glad I can have a part in that. I am very happy to continue my career at Michigan State University," Mollon said.