Appiah Takes Reigns of Bryan Women’s Soccer
DAYTON, Tenn. – The Bryan College Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced the hiring of Eric Kwame Appiah as the Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer program, marking just the fourth Head Women’s Soccer Coach since women’s soccer became an NAIA sport at Bryan in fall of 1997 under Head Coach Mark Neddo.
Kwame, a native of Asamankese, Ghana comes to Bryan after spending the last five years as an assistant coach for neighboring NCAA Div. II Lee University’s men’s soccer program.
“I am very ecstatic to be joining the Bryan College family as the Head Women’s Soccer Coach,” said Kwame. “I am strongly aware of the rich tradition of the college, the athletic department, and the women’s soccer program. The combination of Christian values, a competitive environment, and a commitment to excellence and to developing student-athletes to be their absolute best both on and off the field makes Bryan College a very unique place.”
His experience on the professional, collegiate, and international stage will only add to the already top-ranked Lady Lions. In addition to playing professionally in Ghana, he took his talents to Mount Vernon, Ohio where he competed for current NAIA and Crossroads League member Mount Vernon Nazarene University, earning numerous accolades competing as a standout center-back for the Cougars. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree from Mount Vernon in Exercise Science before going to Tiffin, Ohio and applying himself both on the field as a graduate assistant and in the classroom, giving way to a Masters of Arts in Education from Heidelberg University.
While on the pitch for Mount Vernon, Kwame anchored a defense that posted 15 shutouts in 2009 en route to the NCCAA national tournament, where he received All-Tournament team honors. The following year, the Cougars battled their way to an overall record of 17-7-2 and 11 shutouts. During his senior year, Kwame served the squad as a co-captain and helped maintain great leadership both on and off the field of play.
His strong knowledge of the game, good administrative skills, maturity, and work ethic were noticed by the Lee University staff, which led to him being hired on as an assistant coach for the Flames. Just as Kwame said prior to becoming a Flame, “I’m going to bring everything I can to help make this program a national power,” he followed through as Kwame helped lead Lee to the program’s first-ever national title in 2014, capturing the NCCAA Div. I National Championship.
Kwame also holds a National Diploma from the NSCAA and an USSF D License. His expertise in recruiting, scouting, and training combined with his strong faith that helped Lee go the right direction and attain many triumphs will help Bryan in their continued success as they’ve become a dominating force in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. “I am blessed to have this opportunity to invest in the Women’s Soccer program as we work together to achieve the mission of Bryan College ‘Educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world,’ remarked Kwame. “Honoring God with our very best in all that we do is paramount to my coaching philosophy. I want to thank President Dr. Stephen Livesay, Athletic Director Taylor Hasty, and the entire search committee for this amazing opportunity to join their institution and lead the Women’s Soccer program.”
Kwame will be taking the reigns of a transformed Bryan women’s soccer program, which turned from a last-place team to an AAC powerhouse. The Lions proved the league wrong after being projected to finish near last place in 2016 and the middle of the pack in 2017. In the 2016 season, the Lions made a run in the conference tournament where they eventually claimed the Runner-Up title. In October of 2017, Bryan clinched their first-ever regular-season conference championship and received an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament, marking just the fourth national tournament appearance for the Lions. Bryan ended the chapter on a remarkable record-breaking season whey they went head-to-head with the No. 1 team in the country and forced an overtime period where the opposing team escaped with a narrow 1-0 victory. Their efforts resulted in the program’s winningest season in history, finishing 12-7 overall and 9-2 in conference play.
Kwame will be over by a young and highly skilled team recognized by the NAIA, as the Lions received votes in the final Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Top-25 poll last season, just missing a top-25 ranking. It marks the first time since Sept. 21, 2010 that the Lions have received votes.
Kwame mentioned, “It is clear there is a lot of support for the Women’s Soccer program from both the administration and the overall community of Dayton. I have been tremendously impressed with the unity among the Athletic staff, and I am eager to become part of the team at Bryan College.”
Kwame and his wife Effie-Ann currently reside in Chattanooga, Tenn. and are expecting their first child in July.