The head coach at Vermont for the past 13 seasons, Cormier won 14 games with the Catamounts in 2016 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. Cormier, 43, will be taking over for program-founding head coach Bob Butehorn, who left for the same position at USF in December of 2016 after equally leading FGCU to 14 wins and an NCAA Tournament Second Round.
During his time with Vermont, Cormier guided the program to the America East Tournament in 12 of 13 seasons, making five title game appearances, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular-season championship and advancing to three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of second round appearances. In 2016, the America East ranked as the 3rd-best conference in the nation, behind only the ACC and Pac-12, and ahead of the Big Ten, Big East and Conference USA.
A 1995 Vermont alumnus, Cormier returned to Burlington after serving as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Oregon State from 2001-03. During his time in Corvallis, he helped lead the Beavers to the most successful three-year run in school history and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2003 campaign. Prior to his tenure at Oregon State, Cormier was the top assistant coach at West Virginia (2000) and was an assistant coach at Bradley (1997-99).
The 14 wins for Vermont this past season were the 2nd-most in program history. UVM – which achieved its highest RPI (20th) and national ranking (#14) – earned an at-large selection and hosted a First Round NCAA Tournament contest for only the second time in program history. A total of five Catamounts earned NSCAA All-American, NSCAA All-East Region, ECAC All-Star, America East All-Conference, All-Rookie and All-Academic honors at the end of the season.
Cormier’s Vermont team scored a program-record 42 goals in 2016 – tied for the 5th-most in the nation. He’ll be inheriting an FGCU program which led the country in nearly every offensive category a season ago, including goals with 62 – nine more than any other team. The Eagles return nearly every player from that team, including national goals (22) and points (49) leader Albert Ruiz, a First Team All-American and one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy – college soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman.
In addition to all of his teams’ successes on the pitch, Cormier emphasizes off-field citizenship and academics of his student-athletes. In 2007, Vermont defender Connor Tobin was named the 2007 America East Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2006, Corey Bronner was selected as an ESPN The Magazine Men’s Soccer Academic All-American. During Cormier’s time at Vermont, every single player who competed for all four years graduated.
At Oregon State, Cormier helped transform the program into a national power with outstanding coaching and recruiting. In 2002, OSU made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. As Oregon State’s recruiting coordinator, Cormier’s final two classes were recognized among the nation’s best by CollegeSoccerNews.com. The national website also cited Cormier as one of the outstanding assistant coaches in the country.
Cormier played at Vermont from 1991-94. He ranks 6th in career points (59) and is tied for 6th all-time in goals (24). He earned a spot on the America East All-Championship Team as a sophomore in 1992, leading Vermont to the conference title game. He led the team in scoring as a senior with 21 points off nine goals and three assists, and following the season he earned All-New England honors and was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player. Cormier received his Bachelor’s degree in history from UVM.
A native of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., near the Vermont border, Cormier earned his Master’s degree in leadership and human services at Bradley – where Kavanagh was then the Athletic Director – in 1999. Cormier an assistant coach on the 1998 Missouri Valley Conference Championship squad that was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
Following graduation, Cormier went on to play professionally in the United States (Cincinnati River Hawks, Connecticut Wolves) and overseas (Oxford United FC, Oxford City FC) before beginning his coaching career. Cormier and his wife, Amy, have three children, a son Kai (17), and daughters Parrish (13) and Jazaher (11).
What They’re Saying About Cormier
"FGCU today got an incredible soccer coach. Jesse is one of the best mentors in the college game. He has a deep respect for student-athletes, and he has a tremendous respect for their growth not only as players but as young men. Everyone at FGCU will be impressed with the passion he has for student-athletes. As a coach, Jesse is a terrific tactician and organizer of his players. He will motivate each player in a manner which works for them. He’s great at communicating his vision. He will only continue to build upon what Bob (Butehorn) started. FGCU got one of the brightest young coaches in the game."
– Jim DeRose, Bradley Men’s Soccer Head Coach
"This is a big win and quite a coup for FGCU. As a person, Jesse is as good as you’re going to find in this business. He’s going to bring in the type of student-athletes that will make the university proud. He’s able to develop players, get them motivated and get them to buy in to what he’s trying to accomplish – as he’s proven at Vermont. Bob did a great job building the FGCU program, and I’m 100 percent confident that Jesse will continue to build on that foundation."
– Steve Simmons, Oregon State Men’s Soccer Head Coach