Kyle Gookins Named Stetson Men's Soccer Head Coach

Kyle Gookins Named Stetson Men's Soccer Head Coach

DeLAND, Fla. — Kyle Gookins, the 2014 NSCAA Southeast Regional Assistant Coach of the Year, has been named as men's soccer head coach at Stetson, Athletics Director Jeff Altier announced today.
Gookins has spent the last nine seasons at Charlotte, helping the 49ers to a combined 125-43-25 (.712) record, seven NCAA Tournament appearances, five total conference championships and one NCAA College Cup final, in 2011.
"I am thrilled for the future of Stetson Men's Soccer," Senior Associate Athletic Director Alicia Queally said. "We had a great candidate pool, and when it came time for the search committee to make the final selection, it was clear that Kyle Gookinswas the right choice for the Hatters. He exudes many of the qualities that we look for in both our student-athletes and staff members. To date, he has had a tremendous career as an assistant coach, while working with some of the best head coaches in the business. We look forward to him establishing a culture of champions with the talented young men in our program. I know that his leadership skills and strong recruiting background will take the program to the next level. We are excited to welcome Kyle and his wife, Megan, to the Hatter family."

Gookins is a 2004 graduate of Cal State Bakersfield, from where he also earned a Master's degree in 2008. In addition to his incredible on-field success with the 49ers, Gookins coached and/or recruited four Freshman All-Americans, six Academic All-Americans, three NSCAA All-Americans and 22 all-region players at Charlotte. Eleven of his former players at Charlotte are currently playing in the professional ranks.
"I want to thank Jeff AltierAlicia Queally and the search committee for this incredible opportunity," Gookins said. "As soon as I stepped on campus I felt very welcomed. It was the people that attracted me to Stetson. The faculty and staff are excited about the University, and the facilities are excellent. Stetson was very was intriguing to me from the beginning."
Several different thing attracted Gookins to Stetson and DeLand.
"Stetson has an incredible academics reputation and it's exciting to know that we'll be able to offer a great student-athlete experience," he said. "The men's soccer program has the potential to be successful. They've done it in the past and I am confident we can get there again."

Gookins also had insight into all things Stetson soccer that other candidates probably didn't have. Fellow Charlotte assistant coach Jason Osborne is a 2004 Stetson graduate. The two have worked side-by-side for five years and Gookins learned a lot about Hatter soccer from Osborne.

"It was instrumental to have Jason as a resource," Gookins said. "He and I are really close. I definitely have learned a lot about Stetson and how much he loved going to school there. He's told me about the community and alumni and how supportive they are of the soccer program. He was an important person in this process."
Gookins also worked alongside some of the best Head Coaches in College Soccer. 

"I had the pleasure of working with and learning from great head coaches," he said. "I would like to sincerely thank Simon, Jeremy, and Kevin for the help and guidance through my coaching journey."

The 49ers were 12-4-2 overall in 2016 and reached the NCAA Tournament first round, where they lost to Virginia Tech. With Gookins on staff, Charlotte advanced the NCAA Tournament in 2009, and 2011 through 2016.
Gookins is Stetson's fourth coach in five years, and the Lancaster, Calif., native knows how important it is to provide the Hatters with some stability and leadership. And he plans on putting together an exciting on-field product in the process.
"The important thing for me is to be there for the guys and being around them and taking the time to get to know them and show them I care," he said. "It's important to create a vision for them where they can see themselves achieving great things and moving toward the same goal.
"We want to play fast and create a lot of scoring opportunities and make people want to come out and watch us play. I want to build a program where the guys are pushing the game forward and competing every single minute."
Gookins began his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, spending two years (2006-08) as an assistant coach with the Roadrunners before moving on to Charlotte.
Gookins has been active in developing youth-level players as well, having spent the 18 months as a staff coach of the Carolina Rapids and coaching U14, U16 and U18 USSDA teams. He also spent the last several years serving as a scout for the U.S. Youth National Teams.
What They're Saying About Kyle Gookins

"I am really excited for Kyle and for the Stetson Soccer Program. I enjoyed four great years working with Kyle at Charlotte through which I can say with great confidence that Kyle will make a huge impact on the Stetson team. He has the tactical and technical expertise to create a great program, but most importantly I feel that he will also develop great people who will mature under his guidance as they prepare for success in life. I wish him all the best!"
-Jeremy Gunn, Stanford Head Coach
"Congratulations to Stetson on a great hire. I have had the pleasure of working alongside Kyle for the past eight seasons. He has been instrumental in the recent successes at Charlotte. He has a wonderful soccer brain and a close rapport with the players. What they will notice from Day 1 is his great work ethic and drive to be successful. Although we will miss him, we wish all the best for this exciting opportunity."
-Kevin Langan, UNC Charlotte Head Coach
"Kyle played for me, and started his coaching career, at Cal State Bakersfield. I have watched him develop into one of the top young coaches in the country. He is intelligent, loyal and has a great eye for talent. Stetson has secured a brilliant coach that conducts himself with class and integrity on and off the field."
-Simon Tobin, San Jose State Head Coach
"While at Charlotte for four years, I saw Coach Gookins' hard work, dedication to the program, and knowledge of the game firsthand. He has the ability to connect and get the most out of his players and I know that Stetson is getting a great coach."
-Donnie Smith, New England Revolution