A former collegiate and professional goalkeeper and women's assistant soccer coach at Cornell University, Hemant Sharma has long added his talent and experience to Tennessee's staff as a volunteer assistant, and begins his first season as Director of Soccer Operations.
During his playing career at Cornell, the Short Hills, N.J., native was chosen both All-Ivy league and All-Region while reaching two NCAA Tournaments and playing on an Ivy league championship team in 1995. He set a school record for shutouts in a season and was ranked in the top 5 in NCAA Division I in goals-against-average in 1996. Sharma proved equally adept in the classroom as he was a member of the Dean's List and the winner of the prestigious James E. Rice writing prize.
He was a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Blizzard of the National Professional Soccer League and a fifth-round draft pick of the Arizona Thunder of the World Indoor Soccer League and played five years of pro indoor soccer. The two leagues later combined to become the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Following his pro playing career, Sharma nabbed a position at his alma mater as an assistant coach for the Cornell women's squad (2001). He also earned special commendations from the Buffalo, N.Y., and Gulfport, Miss., mayor's offices for outstanding community service in helping to establish low income youth soccer programs. Sharma has helped to coordinate the Lady Vol Soccer team's involvement in TOPSOCCER, which is a program for disabled athletes.
Sharma is a 1997 graduate of Cornell University, with a bachelor of arts in English and a certificate in Financial Management. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2009, and was the first recipient of the University of Tennessee's Otis Stephens Fellowship, granted for excellence in the study of American politics. He currently teaches in the Univeristy of Tennessee's Political Science Department and co-authored a textbook, An Introduction to the American Legal System, that was recently released by Wolters Kluwer publishers of New York. He has also penned an article entitled "The Game is the Best Teacher" for the NSCAA magazine Soccer Journal.