Hartsville, S.C. – Coker College is pleased to announce the hiring of Paul Leese as the new Head Men’s Soccer Coach. Leese assumes the coaching helm for the Cobra men on May 13.

Leese, a native of Liverpool, England, comes to Coker after serving as the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at Coastal Carolina University for the last three seasons. While at Coastal, Leese was in charge of student-athlete recruitment, including recruiting players from England, Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Spain, as well as serving as the director of the Chanticleers summer soccer camp program for more than 400 youth soccer players.

"I am very pleased to join the Coker College athletic family and serve as head coach of the men's soccer team,” said Leese. “I felt that Coker was a special place the moment I set foot on campus.  I found the coaches, faculty and staff to be incredibly supportive and keen to create an environment where athletes can succeed both in the classroom and on the field.”

Prior to Leese’s time at Coastal he served as an assistant coach at Furman University and Elon University. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Furman in 2001, while receiving a Masters in Business Administration from Elon in 2003. As a member of the Furman Paladin soccer team, Leese was a part of the best finish in school history, 21-2-1 and he helped lead the Paladins to a NCAA Quarterfinal appearance. After graduation Leese played professional soccer in the United Soccer League (USL), playing for the Greenville Lions and the Greensboro Dynamo.

“Coach Leese is an outstanding soccer coach,” said Coker College Director of Athletics Tim Griggs. “His ability to organize and recruit will greatly enhance the Coker College men’s soccer program.  I am extremely happy to have Coach Leese join the Coker Athletics staff.”

Leese inherits a team that finished the 2008 season with a record of 7-12-2 overall and 3-6-1 in Conference Carolinas play, placing ninth in the conference standings. With only three seniors graduating he has a solid nucleus of players returning for the 2009-2010 season.

“I want to thank Coker College for providing me with this opportunity," said Leese. "I was impressed with its vision for the future of the men's soccer team and I share Coker Athletics commitment to developing our student-athletes and preparing them for life after graduation.”