- INSIDE ATHLETICS
- STUDENT ATHLETES
- FAN ZONE
- GRIZZLY CLUB
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Men's Soccer will return to action next week
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Four-time conference coach of the year and reigning Association of Independent Institutions Coach of the Year Steve DeCou is the first men's soccer coach in Georgia Gwinnett College history.
Totaling over 16 years of coaching experience, DeCou came to GGC in January of 2012. Just like his three previous head coaching stops, DeCou has led the Grizzlies to immediate success in their first two seasons of competition and now owns a 151-99-16 career record.
DeCou was named 2013 A.I.I. Coach of the Year in leading the Grizzlies to Georgia Gwinnett College's first postseason tournament championship and first NAIA national tournament.
In just the program's second year overall and first eligible for postseason play, national rankings and awards, the Grizzlies catapulted to #9 in the NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
Thanks to an athletic offensive attack and physical defensive play, the Grizzlies raced their way to a 15-5 overall record, including a 13-4 mark in the regular season.
The signature win of the year came in November as GGC hosted its first-ever postseason tournament. The Grizzlies dispatched national #3 Ashford (Iowa) by a 3-0 score to claim the 2013 Association of Independent Institutions championship on their home field in Lawrenceville, in their first crack at the trophy.
The Grizzlies broke into the national Top 25- the first GGC squad to ever do so- back in September, and maintained high national vote totals the remainder of the season.
Georgia Gwinnett's A.I.I. title sent the squad to the NAIA national tournament opening round, where a second-half penalty kick goal by host and #13 Embry-Riddle ended GGC's season in a 1-0 loss.
In his first year guiding the Grizzlies program in 2012, DeCou led GGC to a fantastic season in its inaugural campaign. The team posted a stellar 15-2-1 record, while going 7-1-1 at home in Lawrenceville.
With less than eight months to recruit and field a team, create a schedule and launch his program, DeCou's success surpassed expectations in year one. Georgia Gwinnett dominated its opponents with a 93-9 scoring advantage on the year.
Senior goalkeeper Greg Hartley, a former NAIA All-American who chose to play his final collegiate season for DeCou after spending 2011 with him at Belhaven University, allowed just eight goals all year in over 1,200 minutes for the Grizzlies. The GGC defense posted 11 shutouts on the season (including a string of five straight) and never allowed more than two goals in a game.
DeCou also guided senior forward Tom Butler to a season that won't soon be repeated. Butler scored 28 goals and piled up 65 points to establish his name in the Grizzly record books. Five different Grizzlies posted 20 or more points on the season for the GGC attack, while 13 separate players tallied a goal.
The squad posted a 12-0 victory over Tennessee Temple University Opening Day on Aug. 25, and remained in charge all season long, reaching six and five-game winning streaks on the year. The Grizzlies' lone home defeat came to #1-rated MRPI team Auburn Montgomery, as GGC battled AUM to a hard-fought 1-0 loss Oct. 6. The team opened its beautiful new synthetic turf field in the tussle, a place it would win its final four games of the year. DeCou's 14 victories on the 2012 season tied for the second most of his career.
DeCou came to GGC from Belhaven (Jackson, Miss.), where for the previous five years the Blazers were a national power.
During his tenure at Belhaven, DeCou posted five consecutive winning seasons (66-23-7 overall), and he led the Blazers to the top 25 finishes in the final NAIA poll from 2009-2011, while the 2010 and 2011 teams ranked in the top 10. DeCou coached his teams to the Round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Six players were selected as NAIA All-Americans, 10 players were named Academic All-Americans, 22 players were All-Conference selections, one was awarded the 2010 SSAC Newcomer of the Year and one was named the 2011 SSAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Prior to his time at Belhaven, DeCou spent 2004-2006 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, where he 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 Trinity Christian College selected to the National Christian College Athletic Association Tournament.
From 2000-2003, DeCou served as head coach of Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana, guiding the Foresters to their first winning campaign in eight years in 2001.
DeCou was the Southern States Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2010, following a 16-2-3 season, the 2008 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, following a 14-4-1 campaign and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2005, following a 13-8-2 season.
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.
The son of a high school football coach, DeCou's earliest memories revolve around athletics, coaching and lessons learned from his father, and after a brief career detour, DeCou decided to follow in his father's coaching footsteps. DeCou believes coaching at the college level is about impacting lives and helping young people learn skills that will enable them to become contributing members of society, and he is excited about the opportunity to build a program at a growing institution in a location with a great talent pool.
DeCou is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (Chattanooga, Tenn.) where he played soccer and earned his bachelor's degree in physical education. He holds a master's in sports medicine from the United States Sports Academy. He holds a USSF "A" license and earned the NSCAA Premier Diploma in January 2014. He has served 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.
The move to Georgia Gwinnett brings DeCou closer to family as his wife, Amy, is originally from Georgia, and his parents are located in nearby Charleston, South Carolina. DeCou and Amy are proud parents of their daughter, Sadie Jane.