Alan Kirkup, one of the NCAA career coaching wins leaders and a former Manchester United FC player, will be patrolling the University of Florida sideline as an assistant coach for his seventh season in 2012.
Kirkup taps a great deal of experience to Florida as both a player and coach. He began his career as a player for Manchester United from 1972-76 and has been coaching soccer at different levels for the past 27 years. Kirkup is tied for 37th on the NCAA Division I Coaches All-Time-Wins list with his 224-137-19 (.614) career record earned in his 18 years as a collegiate head coach.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the men’s soccer team at Eastern Illinois, helping bring them to the 1981 NCAA semifinal round. Kirkup moved on to be an assistant coach for men’s soccer at Southern Methodist in Dallas, Texas, in 1985 and began to simultaneously work as the SMU women’s head coach in 1986.
In 1989, he solely worked as head coach of the women’s team and held the position until 1996. While at SMU, he took the women’s program to six NCAA Tournament appearances, which included reaching the 1995 NCAA semifinal. He was honored as the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1995.
From 1996-99, Kirkup was head coach of Maryland’s women’s team. While with the Terrapins, he took his teams to the NCAA Tournament every year, setting school records for wins in a season (19), winning percentage (.769) and wins to begin a season (14). The 1996 Terrapins reached the NCAA quarterfinal round, their best showing ever in the tournament.
Kirkup began working in the Southeastern Conference the following year, joining Arkansas as their head coach in 1999. He resigned from Arkansas in 2004 and returned to England where he was a physical education and sports teacher at the Buckingham School and Taunton’s College in Southampton. He also served as a Southampton FC Academy Coach, working in community development.
Following his soccer career, Kirkup graduated from Loughborough University in Loughborough, England with a degree in physical education and sports science in 1981. He continued his education at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, earning a master’s degree in physical education in 1982. Kirkup is the father of two children, Molly, a recent graduate of Maryland, and Stephen, who is in his fourth year at the University of North Carolina, where he is a member of the lacrosse team. He and wife, Anna, reside in Gainesville.
Alan Kirkup File
- Position: University of Florida Assistant Coach (2006-present)
- Education: Physical Education and Sports Science bachelor's degree - Loughborough University (1981)
- Advanced: Physical Education master's degree - Eastern Illinois University (1982)
- Previous Experience: Arkansas (head coach, 1999-2003, 34-59-6 (.373)); Maryland (head coach, 1996-1999, 42-25-6 (.616)); Southern Methodist (head coach, 1986-1996, 148-53-7 (.728)); asst. men’s coach 1985-1988); Eastern Illinois (graduate assistant, 1981-1982)
- Collegiate Head Coaching Record: 224-137-19 (.614), 18 years