LU names Orlando Cervantes women’s soccer coach
BEAUMONT, Texas – Lamar University Athletic Director Jason Henderson named Orlando Cervantes as head women’s soccer coach today. Cervantes comes to Lamar after spending the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana University.
“We are very excited to have Orlando join our staff as our head women’s soccer coach,” Henderson said. “We look forward to great things to come from Orlando and the women’s soccer program.”
It is the first Division I head coaching job for Cervantes, who has been a head coach at NAIA programs Holy Names University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“I’m very excited to be a part of Lamar and Southeast Texas,” Cervantes said. “It’s a challenge I’ve been waiting for. I wanted to be a head coach at Division I.”
Cervantes becomes the third women’s soccer coach in Lamar history. He replaces Dewi Hardman, who posted a 22-43-7 record over four seasons after taking over a program that went 0-18 in its first year of existence. The Lady Cardinals are coming off their best season ever, posting a 9-8-2 overall record and finishing third in the Southland Conference with a 6-2-1 mark.
“Dewi did a great job in building the program,” Cervantes said. “I want to build off of that foundation and continue to improve the program. I am very impressed by the facilities and by the support system that is in place here at Lamar.”
Prior to his stint at Indiana, Cervantes was an assistant coach at Cal Poly, where he helped the Mustangs win a Big West Conference championship.
Cervantes was the head coach at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for one season, while also serving as the school’s sports information director. Cervantes’ first job as a head coach was at Holy Names University for three seasons. Cervantes led the team to a pair of top three conference finishes in his first two seasons.
He got his start at UC Santa Cruz in 1996 as an assistant for both the men’s and women’s teams before moving on to his alma mater, San Jose State University, in 1998 as an assistant coach for the men's and women's soccer teams. He coached two first-round and one third-round draft picks in the Major League Soccer Draft on the men's side and helped the women's team qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and capture a WAC Championship. The men also advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Cervantes, who speaks English and Spanish fluently, also has experience with the Olympic Development Program (ODP), where he is currently a member of the instructional staff with the California Youth Soccer Association as well as the USYSA ODP - Region IV team. He has served as the head coach of the California-North State ODP team.
His professional experience came with the California Jaguars of the United Soccer League (USL), where he was the head coach and assistant general manager responsible for player personnel and operations.
Cervantes graduated with a degree in kinesiology and minor in Spanish from San Jose State University. He recently earned a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University in Irvine, Calif.
He and his wife, Rachel, have a son, Canon (8), and a daughter, Graciana (4).
The Lady Cardinals open their season at Air Force on Aug. 17. The home opener is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 7 against Prairie View A&M.