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Former MSU soccer standout Damon Rensing became the fifth head coach in Spartan history on January 1, 2009 after taking over for the legendary Joe Baum, who guided MSU for 32 seasons. The 2013 campaign will be Rensing's fifth as head coach, after serving as an assistant coach for 10 seasons at his alma mater.
Rensing was named MSU's head coach designate on Aug. 14, 2008 after Baum decided to make 2008 his final season as head coach.
Rensing has spent nearly half his life in the Green and White with four years as varsity letterwinner, one season as an assistant with the women's program and 10 seasons in his previous position.
A rough start greeted Rensing's 2012 season, as injuries took their toll on the lineup and MSU finished September with a sub-.500 record. However, an impressive run during the Big Ten regular season found MSU with a chance at an outright Conference championship on the line in the season's final weekend. Despite falling to archrival Michigan in a de-facto regular-season championship game, Rensing's club turned the tables in the Big Ten Tournament, dispatching Indiana and Penn State to force a rematch with the Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship game. Sean Conerty scored the golden goal to deliver the Spartans their third Big Ten Tournament championship in school history and sent MSU to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons. The Spartans downed Cleveland State at home in the first round before falling at top-seeded Notre Dame.
The 2011 campaign was a frustrating one for the Spartans, with two All-Big Ten candidates out of the lineup before the season was two games old. Senior Domenic Barone suffered a leg injury which ended what was supposed to be his final season before it even began, while Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate Kevin Cope fractured his orbital bone in the season's second game, at Connecticut. After losing a significant senior class to graduation, a young MSU lineup sought consistency throughout the first half of the season, but unfortunately had dug too large a hole to climb out of despite an impressive five-game unbeaten streak to end the regular season, including a 1-0 victory at Akron, the defending National Champion. In all, its 7-8-4 record saw all of the team's losses come by a single goal, and two of its losses coming in overtime.
2010 was a magical postseason for the Spartans, as they advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and traveled to North Carolina. The teams battled through regulation and both overtimes, and it took until the final strike of penalty kicks for the Tar Heels to eliminate the Spartans. MSU downed Oakland in its opening game, and knocked off previously undefeated Butler in Indianapolis to earn its date with UNC. MSU finished the season ranked ninth in the final RPI ranking - the second-highest ranking for a Big Ten team - and compiled a 13-7-2 overall record. Rensing saw two seniors - fullback Colin Givens and midfielder Spencer Thompson - selected in the MLS Superdraft and Supplemental Draft, respectively.
In his four years, Rensing has led the Spartans to a 43-33-9 overall mark and into the NCAA Tournament in three of those four seasons. Among those victories include a dramatic overtime victory at then-No. 3 Maryland, a pair of wins over Notre Dame in the Big Ten-Big East Challenge, MSU's first-ever road victory over Indiana,and a pair of wins over the Hoosiers in their National Championship season of 2012. In 2011, the Spartans ended then-defending National Champion Akron's 48-game home winning streak with a 1-0 road victory over the then-sixth-ranked Zips. He owns a 3-3 record in the NCAA Tournament, including a run to the round of 16 in 2010.
During his ten years as an assistant at Michigan State, Rensing helped lead the Spartans to 2004 and 2008 Big Ten Tournament championships as well as the 2008 conference regular-season crown. The 2008 season was one of the most successful in recent MSU history as the Spartans received the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Championships, tied a program-best with 13 wins and went 6-2 against ranked opponents.
Rensing was instrumental in helping the program to its first four trips to the NCAA Tournament (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2008) since 1969. Michigan State has posted a 110-64-20 (.619) overall record with Rensing on the sidelines, including 11 or more wins in eight seasons. Since 2000, the Spartans have won at least 11 games eight times.
During his time as an assistant, Rensing tutored 15 different First Team All-Big Ten performers and nine different NSCAA-All Region honorees. Rensing also worked with two NSCAA All-America selections - Ryan McMahen (2005) and Doug DeMartin (2008). Both McMahen (80 points, 26 goals) and DeMartin (85 points, 38 goals) rank in the MSU all-time top 10 in points and goals.
Five players Rensing has recruited and coached, including John Minagawa-Webster (2005), McMahen (2006), Kevin Reiman (2008), Rauwshan McKenzie (2008) and DeMartin (2009), have been drafted by MLS teams.
Rensing began his coaching career in 1997 when he assisted with the MSU women's soccer team before moving to UNLV when former MSU women's assistant Staci Hendershott was appointed head coach of that program. While at UNLV, he helped that club to an overall record of 8-10-1 along with a No. 3 national ranking for first-year programs. In addition, he coached the Las Vegas Premier Soccer U-17 Team to a state championship.
After one year at UNLV, Rensing returned to East Lansing in 1999 where he became an assistant coach on Baum's staff. In 2004, Rensing was promoted to associate head coach following the 2004 season.
Rensing was a four-time letterwinner and three-year starter for MSU (1993-96). His senior year saw him capture All-Big Ten first-team recognition after picking up 14 points on five goals and four assists. He was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree as a sophomore and junior. During his four years, he played in 74 matches, 55 as a starter, totaling seven goals and 13 assists for 27 points.
Rensing earned his bachelor's degree from MSU in communication in 1997. He married the former Daune Koester in May 2004. The couple has two children, Anna and Drew.
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