- Head Coach, Men's Soccer
Bud Lewis begins his 38th season at the helm of one of the nation’s most successful and respected programs. With 463 career victories, Lewis is among the winningest coaches in NCAA Division III history.
Lewis’ Quakers have captured 11 conference championships and made 10 national tournament appearances, including a berth in the NAIA Final Four in 1986. Last year’s team posted an 11-7-1 record in a season that produced an upset win at No. 20 Baldwin-Wallace and a return to the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament.
“The bottom line is that I love to see a competitive team play. I love to see that we can match up and play the kind of soccer I am most capable of coaching. That requires a good technical level and a good understanding of how the game should be played. I have been very influenced by the Dutch and Spanish flavor of the game, and I see how it makes the game beautiful. We saw great goals scored, some great defending and great goalkeeping last year. I expect that we will be very competitive from the get-go this season,” Lewis said.
Lewis came to Wilmington following an All-American playing career at Bowling Green State University and stints with the Cincinnati Comets of the American Soccer League and the Buffalo Blazers, not far from Rochester, N.Y. and Penfield High School, which he led to a New York state championship in 1970.
Despite his many successes as a player, Lewis’ early years as a coach provided few bright moments, as the Quakers won just six of 25 games in 1975 and 1976.
“I came right into college coaching, as opposed to mentoring under somebody and really learning the ropes,” Lewis said. “I learned a lot of lessons the difficult way. But I did recognize fairly early on that we could run a very competitive program here. Our facilities, our location, our academic program here have given us a competitive edge that allows us to play with the best in the country in Division III.”
Under Lewis’ guidance, the Quakers have won ... and won ... and won. Wilmington has posted winning records 32 times over the past 36 seasons.
“We are very proud of the tradition we have established at Wilmington College,” Lewis said. “The past couple years, we haven’t enjoyed the level of success we have become accustomed to, and we are anxious to re-establish that tradition. Success on the field is closely tied with success off the field. We feel that when we are winning as players, chances are very good that we also will be winning as people who are members of the campus community and beyond.”
Lewis’ personal accomplishments comprise a seemingly unending list: eight-time NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year, six-time NSCAA Mideast Coach of the Year, three-time Ohio Coach of the Year, three-time Association of Mideast Colleges Coach of the Year and 2004 Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Small-college soccer is Lewis’ passion.
“I love the game and working with the student-athletes. It’s such a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “Most of these guys aren’t going to be playing beyond their years at Wilmington, so whatever we can do to shape and frame them as great young men is as important as winning games.”
Lewis holds a master’s from The Ohio State University and serves as WC’s director of Greek Life and Wellness programs. He resides in Wilmington with his wife Margo. They have two sons, Gabriel and Andrew, a daughter Emily.