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Troy Lesesne

Communication On and Off the Field

lesesne

By Samantha Shirley

The Master of Arts in Communication (MCOM) program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and as such, is proud to feature MCOM alumni that are using their graduate degree to make an impact in the Charleston community and beyond. For Troy Lesesne ’04, MA ’10, the Department of Communication graduate school was where he realized he could blend his passions for soccer and communication together—and eventually land at Blackblaud Stadium as an assistant coach for the Charleston Battery. 

Before Lesesne decided on graduate school though, he already had a solid foundation at CofC. His sister, Lauren Lesesne, also attended, and during his undergraduate program he played soccer under Coach Ralph Lundy. After graduation Troy spent two years playing for the Charleston Battery, while returning to Coach Lundy’s team as a volunteer assistant coach in 2005. In 2008 a full-time position opened and he stepped in, and started to think about pursuing his degree.

Lesesne decided he wanted to make a future in coaching soccer, and needed a degree that would provide him with a different set of skills. He had already graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication, but felt a graduate degree in Communication would allow him a narrower focus on coaching. Lesesne says, “in the Master’s program I learned how to connect and weave the two fields. I had a better understanding for the power of communication.”

During his time in the program, Troy tailored his experience to a path of interpersonal communication—researching the powers of persuasion and leadership relationships. He was still coaching with Lundy, and put his theories to practice to Lundy’s summer camp. During the time when social media was taking off, Lesesne capitalized on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook to increase business.

It is enlightening to hear Lesesne talk about his experience inside the classroom. He says that students “need to take advantage of the relationships you can create with your professors.” He speaks with enthusiasm of learning theories with Dr. Merissa Ferrara, ethics with Dr. Robert Westerfelhaus, being a teaching assistant with Dr. Vince Benigni, and his impactful courses with Dr. Kathy DeHaan, Dr. Beth Goodier and Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain. He says through these courses he was able to translate his skills to his career. 

Today, Lesesne is an assistant coach for the Charleston Battery soccer team, and is on the technical staff for the Vancouver Whitecaps—working with players that are on loan to the Battery. While coaching at the college level included other responsibilities like overseeing players’ academics, at the Battery Lesesne can solely focus on the game. His average day consists of training, strategizing over film, analytics, and traveling. He says the valuable communication skills he uses every day include emotional intelligence, intuition and persuasion. Winning may be an obvious motivator for Lesesne, but he is also inspired every day by his players and the Battery organization. 

When asked what some of the biggest challenges of his job are, Lesesne says “it’s hard to continue to put out a consistent message to players when things don’t go right, but these are the moments you have to be a strong leader. It’s an important life lesson for the players and yourself.” But what makes Lesesne a great leader is his ability to galvanize a group with his words. He leads by example and with empathy, and he effectively communicates his organized strategy.

Troy has made some great strides in soccer—making it to the second round of the NCAA in 2004 as a player at CofC, making it to the second round again in 2010 as an assistant coach, and seeing the Battery to the playoffs in 2014. But without skipping a beat, Lesesne says his biggest achievement so far has been his family. Lesesne is married to another College of Charleston grad, Amanda Andrews Lesesne ’08, and they love taking advantage of all that Charleston has to offer.