Lubbock Christian University’s Matt Barnes has announced he is resigning as head coach of the men’s soccer program to accept the head coaching position at San Francisco State University, and athletic director Paul Hise has promoted Lee Williams from assistant men’s soccer coach to interim head coach.
“Matt (Barnes) did an outstanding job in the short time he was working here at LCU including a first-place finish in the Heartland Conference,” said Hise. “He developed great relationships with the coaches, faculty, staff, and student-athletes, and was also instrumental in building a strong club soccer program and several great community outreach programs. Matt will certainly be missed, but we wish him and his family the very best in their new opportunity. We are also looking forward to the continued success of our men’s soccer program under the direction of interim head coach Lee Williams.”
Matt Barnes, a 41 year-old native of Bakersfield, Calif., will return to his home state to take over a SFSU program that went 3-14-1 last season and seeks their first NCAA postseason berth since 1978. SFSU is the second largest NCAA Division II program in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with an enrollment of 30,000 students.
Barnes spent one season at the helm of the Chaparrals and his instant success became recognizable. Last season the Chaps completed the season with a record of 11-5-1. They finished in first place in the Heartland Conference with a mark of 8-1 in conference play. It is LCU’s only first place finish in their program’s four-year history. LCU, who did not have a win over a ranked squad prior to last season, went 3-1 last season against ranked opponents. His success with the Chaps led to a head coaching position with Sockers FC Midland-Odessa of the United Soccer League - Premier Development League (USL-PDL). Sockers FC completed their best season this summer with a 7-4-3 record and a share of second place in the Mid-South Division. Barnes, who previously spent two seasons at Prescott, Ariz. based Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, leaves LCU with a career coaching record of 34-16-7 and a mark of 14-1-3 in conference contests. Heading with him will be is wife Morgan (California native) and son Monroe, who was born in Lubbock.
“The opportunity to work with the LCU staff and administration has been a blessing for me, especially working under athletic director Paul Hise, who has had a tremendous influence on my life,” said Barnes. “Claiming first place in the Heartland Conference this past season, with such an incredible group of seniors, will certainly be a highlight of my career. The incoming recruiting class is the best group of talent I have ever assembled, and under the guidance of Lee Williams, I am certain that the future of LCU men's soccer is a bright one. The opportunity to get back home to California and close to family and friends was a very important factor in this difficult decision, but I will always be a fan of Lubbock Christian University and will value the experience it afforded me.”
Williams was Barnes’ assistant coach for the Chaps. He has handled a vast majority of the recruiting efforts this offseason, as the Chaps are replacing 12 seniors from the 2013 squad. Williams has played a part in an incoming class that is up to 24 new student-athletes (eight of which are international student-athletes). He joined the LCU staff for his first season in 2013 after spending the prior two seasons as an assistant coach with Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. While at OLLU, Williams obtained a master’s degree in nonprofit management. He served on staff of both the men’s and women’s programs at OLLU. The women’s team went 9-9-1 in 2012, with a 6-3-1 Red River Athletic Conference record to tie for fourth place and earn a spot in the RRAC Tournament. The men went 12-8-1 overall and earned a trip to the NAIA National Championship berth and their first RRAC title with a 9-2 conference mark. Williams also works with the Classic Elite Soccer Academy and the Pre Academy and USSF Development Academy, as he holds USSF "A" UEFA "B" Licenses.
The Aberystwyth, Wales native started his coaching career at the age of 18 with the staff of Swansea City FC of the English Premier League. He moved to England to complete his college education and also assisted the youth development staffs of English Championship League’s Birmingham City and Leicester City. After completing his degree, Williams moved to the U.S. to continue his coaching education. He coached for British Soccer as a club trainer for five years, and was involved in club soccer coaching in Minnesota, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and San Antonio. After leaving British Soccer, Williams joined SA United coaching U18 Boys, New Braunfels Rapids with the U12 Lady Rapids, Boys Academy and DFW Tornados U13 Girls and U15 Boys.
Williams played for the Swansea City youth program before going on to play for Llanelli AFC in the Welsh Premier League. During that time he was selected to play for Welsh Colleges playing against Australia and South Africa. He played in the lower tiers of English football, playing for Worcester City (Conference North), Thurrock FC (Conference South). While pursuing his education, he was player/coach and started all three years at the University of Worcester and captained the team for two years to two regional championships and ranked ninth in BUSA. Williams was selected to play for Midlands Representative Universities for two years running and captained the team in his final year. He was then selected for the England Universities squad to play in a tournament against all the home nations (Wales, Scotland and Ireland), which the team won. After coming to the U.S., Williams played for the Minnesota Thunder practice squad (USL-1), and Rhode Island Stingrays (PDL) before pursuing coaching fulltime.
Along with his degree earned at OLLU, Williams has earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Sciences from the University of Worcester in Worcestershire, England, an Associate of Science in Sports Studies and an Associate of Arts in Leisure and Tourism from Gorseinon College in Swansea, Wales. Lee is married to Stephanie and the couple enjoy time with daughter Scarlette.
“First off, I want to wish Matt (Barnes) the best of luck in his new venture,” stated Williams. “I know he will be successful wherever he goes. I couldn't have asked for a better boss, mentor and friend the past year. He will be missed and I appreciate everything he has done for me personally and my family. I want to thank Paul (Hise) for his continuing support with the growth of the soccer program and giving me this tremendous opportunity. This is very exciting to step up and keep pushing this program forward and continue the success Matt put into place. The incoming class for 2014 is extremely talented, and not only on the soccer field but in the classroom also. There are some exciting times ahead for Lubbock Christian University and the men's soccer program.”
Williams’ first regular season game at the helm of the Chaparrals is scheduled for September 5, 2014 in Hays, Kansas, as LCU faces Drury to open the Days Inn Classic (hosted by Fort Hays State). The Chaps first home game is Sept. 11 at 3 p.m. against University of the Southwest (N.M.).