Michelle Demko is in her fifth year as head coach of the UNC Asheville women's soccer program.
The former University of Maryland star is steadily rebuilding the Bulldog program and is determined to get it back to the top of the Big South Conference.
In 2013, Asheville won six matches, the most wins for the program since the 2006 campaign. The Bulldogs went 2-0-2 in overtime matches and earned a tie with eventual BSC champion Liberty.
After winning only one match in her first season as head coach in 2010, Asheville was the most improved team in the Big South in 2011. The Bulldogs won four matches and qualified for the Big South Tournament for the first time in three seasons. Asheville took eventual Big South champion and NCAA participant Radford to a shootout before falling to the Highlanders in the quarterfinals of the league tourney.
That improvement continued in 2012 as the Bulldogs posted five wins and played their best soccer at the end of the year as they won three of their final five matches.
In the spring of 2013, Demko was selected to serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team when it played in a four-nation tournament in LaManga, Spain. The U.S. won the tournament with victories over England, Norway and Sweden.
This was Demko's second coaching appointment on the international stage. In 2012, the Bulldogs' head coach was in California, training the Under-20 U.S. Women's National Team as it began preparations for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.
Demko came to Asheville after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska.
She replaced Michele Cornish, the Big South's and UNC Asheville's all-time winningest coach.
"When we began to look at the applicants for this position, we were determined to find a Champion in Athletics and a Leader in Life," declared Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone upon Demko's hiring. "Michelle fit our vision perfectly. She has been a champion on the field both collegiately and professionally. Michelle has also coached at two outstanding universities. We believe she will do an exemplary job leading our women's soccer program."
Demko had been at Nebraska for three years and served as the Huskers' recruiting coordinator. Nebraska posted three straight winning seasons and improved its win total each year.
Before coming to Nebraska, Demko spent four years with North Carolina State, helping to improve the Pack from a record of 9-9-1 in 2003 to 11-9-1 in 2006.
Before her stint at N.C. State, Demko played professionally with the Philadelphia Charge. She was selected in the eighth round (63rd overall) by the Charge and played two seasons in the WUSA, leading Philadelphia into the WUSA Founders Cup semifinals twice.
Demko also had a successful professional career overseas, spending three years in Germany in the competitive Frauen Bundesliga for the SC Klinge Seckah, FSV Frankfurt and Bayern Munich.
She was a starter for all three teams and led Bayern Munich to a league championship. In addition, Demko captured a national title while playing with the W-League's Maryland Pride from 1994 to 1996.
Demko, who played soccer at Maryland under former U.S. National Team Coach April Heinrichs, was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference's 50th Anniversary Women's Soccer Team. While playing at Maryland, she served as a two-year captain and was voted MVP by her team. She also earned first-team All-ACC honors.
Demko played in three Olympic Festivals (1994-96), as well as being called into national team training camps in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Demko also owns a cap with the U.S. Women's National Team while playing against Germany in 1997.
A native of Largo, Fla., Demko received a bachelor's degree of science-kinesiology from Maryland in 1996. Prior to her arrival at Maryland, she played soccer at Barry University in Miami, Fla. She helped lead Barry to the 1992 NCAA Division II national title as she scored in the championship match against Adelphi.
What People Are Saying About Michelle Demko
"Michelle Demko is one of the brightest and best female head coaches I have observed coaching. She is passionate about the game, cares about her players and is a fabulous role model for all. Student-Athletes will push themselves and each other while playing for Michelle at UNC Asheville."
Former Head Coach at Maryland/Former United States National Team Coach
"Michelle will do a terrific job at UNC Asheville. She brings incredible experience as a former professional player, and during her tenure at Nebraska proved herself to be an excellent recruiter, a creative and disciplined coach. Most of all, she brings her outstanding character and passion, which will become the foundation of her program at UNC Asheville."
Nebraska Head Women's Soccer Coach