This fall, and for the first time 1998, Neil Piper will not be on the Sidelines at the Lion Soccer Field.
After the decision to go Division I, the winningest coach in the history of Lion Soccer decided to move on after the decision to go Division I after the season last fall. He decided to leave Commerce and stay on the Division II level and is now the head coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
This is a long overdue post. I have told so many people this. When I was a student in Commerce, the only program that was a winning program was Women’s Soccer, Men’s Basketball, and for one season, Women’s Basketball. Neil Piper, over a period of 23 seasons, had 21 winning seasons to go along with an overall record of 271-154-40 while leading the Lions to LSC titles in six different seasons (regular season champions in 1999, 2003, 2014 and 2016 and tournament champions in 1999, 2004, 2014 and 2015).
The Lion Women’s soccer position became a coveted position because of the hard word and dedication of this Man. He had high expectations for his players on and off the pitch. They were great on the field, and represented well off the field. I knew quite a few of them that played between 2005-2007. He did what it took to win, but win the right way.
When you take a look at the coaches that this University owes for their time and success, you think guys like Ernest Hawkins, JV Sikes, Eddie Vowell, Jim Gudger, Bill Crabtree, Sam Walker, Denny Downing, Donna Taverner, Boley Crawford, Bobby Fox and others. Neil Piper belongs in this pantheon of great Lion coaches. He is the original Lion Soccer coach. He took a program that did not even have a field, helped the football team under then coach Eddie Brister sod it and level it, and on that field played one of the most elite programs in the history of the Lone Star Conference and NCAA Division II.
One of the reasons we are now a Division I school is because we have shown ourselves to have success in every sport. We had great success for 2 decades in Women’s soccer, and now as Neil Piper passes the torch of excellence to Ashley Gordon, all we can say is the following-
Best of Luck at Nebraska-Kearney
And…..a job well done.
Thank you, Neil Piper.