With aspirations of quickly making an intense impact on the face of national collegiate soccer, Georgia Gwinnett College hired 15-year veteran coach Steven DeCou to lead the Grizzlies” men”s soccer program.
DeCou spent the last five years as head coach and assistant director of athletics at Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss.# While there, he posted five consecutive winning seasons (66-23-7 overall), led the Blazers to top-25 finishes in the final NAIA poll from 2009-2011, and took his team to the Round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament in each of the last two years. He was named Southern States Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 following a 16-2-3 season.
“Under Coach DeCou”s leadership, Belhaven became a national force in a short period of time,”# said Darin Wilson, GGC”s director of athletics. “We are confident that he will quickly lead the Grizzlies to the same level.”#
Along with his extensive coaching experience at the NAIA level, DeCou currently serves as president of the NAIA Men”s Soccer Association Executive Committee and is a member of the NAIA Ratings Oversight Committee, NAIA National Tournament Selection Committee, and NAIA National Tournament Games Committee.
“Georgia Gwinnett represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,”# DeCou said. “I”m excited to build a new program at an institution that is growing, and in a location with a great talent pool. GGC is a hidden gem, but the world will know about us in a couple of years.”#
The son of a high school football coach, DeCou”s earliest memories revolve around athletics, coaching and lessons learned from his father. That experience led him into his own coaching career, after a brief detour.
“I spent four years as a sports medicine specialist in athletics training,”# he said. “While sitting on the sidelines watching other coaches, I realized that I could do a better job. My heart was in coaching.”#
However, DeCou sees coaching as much more than an athletics discipline.
“Coaching at the college level is not about wins and losses,”# he said. “It”s about impacting lives and helping young people learn skills that enable them to become contributing members of society.”#
Joining the coaching staff at Georgia Gwinnett also brings DeCou and his family closer to “home.”# DeCou”s parents relocated from Michigan to Charleston, S.C., and his wife, Amy, is originally from Georgia. The couple”s young daughter will spend more time with her extended families. DeCou especially looks forward to his father being able to visit GGC for home soccer games.
DeCou is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (Chattanooga, Tenn.) where he played soccer and earned his bachelor”s degree in physical education. He then earned a master”s in sports medicine from the United States Sports Academy, an athletics-specific graduate school in Daphne, Al.
From 2000-2003, DeCou served as head coach of Huntington College in Huntington, Ind., guiding the Foresters to their first winning campaign in eight years in 2001.
DeCou spent 2004-2006 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., and led the Trolls to a 27-28-4 record. His three year stint was highlighted by a 13-8-2 season in 2005 that saw DeCou named Chicagoland Christian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and Trinity Christian College selected to the National Christian College Athletic Association Tournament at season”s end.
In addition to his involvement with NAIA soccer, DeCou spent three summers coaching in the United Soccer Leagues” Premier Development League, serving as an assistant in 2006 and 2007 with the Chicago Fire Premier and as head coach of the Mississippi Brilla FC in 2008.
Applications for the 2012 fall semester at GGC are due by June 1, 2012.# For more information, visit www.ggc.edu.