A friend of a friend – Anson Dorrance – Jill McCartney-April 30

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 30, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

I was an athletic director for nearly 15 years. The last 6 I was very fortunate to be selected to serve on a variety of N.C.A.A Division II Committees. It was on these committees that I met some of the best leaders I have ever encountered. In a lot of cases those leaders became friends including Jill McCartney.

Jill depicted on front row in white jacket. Photo from 2011 meeting in Indianapolis, IN

NCAA Legislation Committee

Jill began a new job in September 2014 as Doane College’s new director of athletics, leaving her role as the assistant athletic director for compliance and academics at Washburn University, an NCAA Division II school in Topeka, Kansas. Doane College is located in Crete, Nebraska. Crete is located about 30 miles southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska. Doane is a member of the N.A.I.A and has approximately 1100 students.

Jill McCartney

I first met Jill when we both were serving on the NCAA Legislation Committee. She impressed everyone on the committee and it wasn’t long before she was elected as chairwoman and did a fantastic job in leading that group. In that committee I found out a lot about Jill and her deep concern for students and creating a pathway for them to have a great experience.

Jill has had a fantastic background for becoming a leader. She played college soccer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. After college she had an opportunity to be an assistant soccer coach and graduate assistant teacher of English at the University of Arizona and she became the head soccer coach at Marquette in 1993.

In 1998 Jill became the head women’s soccer coach and an assistant professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University and remained there until 2007. In addition to her head coaching responsibilities, she taught courses in American literature and composition. In 2007 Jill determined that she wanted to switch careers and focus on administration. She spent time at Metro State in Denver and from there went to Washburn University serving as Assistant Athletics Director and senior woman administrator. It was while she was at Washburn that I met her.

Jill is married to Bob Gunther and she told me that a vacation trip to northern California one year spurred him  into becoming a sommelier and she has been the recipient of good wines ever since. When we went to dinner as a NCAA committee she always seemed to know just what wine to order. Marrying a wine connoisseur looked good on Jill.

Jill is a leader that was born to be on a college campus. She loves being around young people and learning from them on what issues they deem important. That is the mark of a great leader not doing something for yourself but serving others. Doane is lucky today because Jill McCartney will do just that she will serve students.

Anson Dorrance her college coach from 1984-1985 knows that also.

The Friend-Jill McCartney

Jill Doane

The Friend of the Friend- Anson Dorrance

anson dorrance

Tar Heel Soccer

In 1984 and 1985 while Jill McCartney was playing soccer for Anson Dorrance she experienced success. The team won the 1984 NCAA Championship and finished as runner-up in 1985. While Jill was at UNC the team posted a record of 42-2-1.

One of the most amazing sport dynasties in college athletics is North Carolina Women’s Soccer and Jill McCartney was part of that.

Just think about the numbers below:

Overall Record:  728-44-26 (.929)                                        20 ACC Tournament Championships

ACC Regular Season Record:  153-15-5 (.899)                   20 ACC Regular-Season championships

ACC Tournament Record:  58-1-4 (.952)                              21 NCAA Tournament Championships

AIAW Tournament Record:  4-0-0 (1.000)                            1 AIAW Tournament Championship

NCAA Tournament Record:  110-8-2 (.925)                         33 NCAA Tournament Appearances

Goals For:  3,131                                                               1 AIAW Tournament Appearance

Goals Against:  399                                                           2 5 NCAA College Cup Appearances

When I look at all of that I don’t know what is the most impressive. Is it the 21 NCAA Championships in 33 years, is it only losing one game EVER in the ACC Tournament, is it having gone to the NCAA Tournament all 33 years it has been in existence, or is it the 7 times Anson Dorrance was named national coach of the year. His record and dynasty he created at UNC Chapel Hill is amazing.

What also is amazing is Anson Dorrance has had success as the Men’s Soccer Coach at UNC from 1977-1989. Many people do not realize he coached both men and women for ten years 1979-1989.

He began his coaching career at Carolina as the designated head coach for the men’s team in 1976 during UNC Head Coach Marvin Allen’s last year as head coach.  He took over as men’s coach in 1977 and served for 12 years in that role, posting a 172-65-21 record.  His team won the ACC Tournament championship in 1987.  He took the Tar Heels to the 1987 NCAA College Cup semifinals and the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament.  Dorrance’s .708 winning percentage is tops among Carolina’s men’s soccer coaches all-time.  He also was voted national coach of the year for men in 1987. That is pretty heady stuff that many people forget.

During Coach Dorrance tenure from 1990 to 1994 his teams built a 92 winning streak and extended it to 101 games without a loss. In addition from 1986 to 1994 Carolina Women’s Soccer won the 9 straight NCAA Championships. That is an amazing dynasty.

Dorrance was born on April 9, 1951, in Bombay, India, and he is married to M’Liss Gary Dorrance.  The couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in August 2014.

I hope the students at Doane realize that their Athletic Director Jill McCartney was part of the greatest college dynasty ever.


  1. Jeff Neelon · · Reply

    Played golf with Anson at a UNC event at the Dunes Club

    His long time assistant is Billy Palladina. I dated his sister, Susan, in high school.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. The success Anson has had in mind boggling. Love the stories Jill told me about 30 year old Anson when she played for him.

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