July 19, 2006
Matthew Dillon, who coached Campbell University to the championship game of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament in 2005, was selected to become the first women's soccer coach at Lamar University, announced Director of Athletics Billy Tubbs.
Dillon, whose official start date at Lamar is August 1, guided Campbell to an 8-9-2 overall record last season and a 6-3-1 mark in A-Sun play in his first season at the helm of the program. Three Lady Camels were named to all-conference teams and three earned all-tournament honors.
"We are really excited to have coach Dillon be the first women's soccer coach at Lamar," Tubbs said. "He brings a wealth of soccer knowledge, both as a player and coach. We are also very excited about bringing a women's soccer program in general to the university."
Prior to Campbell, Dillon spent four years as an assistant coach at UCF, where the Golden Knights fashioned a 56-27-2 (.671) record, including a 34-4-1 (.885) mark in A-Sun regular season play. UCF won three A-Sun titles (1999, 2001, 2002) and advanced to the NCAA regional tournament following each league crown.
UCF players earned A-Sun all-conference honors 28 times during Dillon's tenure, while five Golden Knights were selected to NSCAA All-Southeast Region teams. In addition, 49 UCF women's soccer players gained A-Sun All-Academic status between the 1999 and 2002 seasons.
Dillon began his Division I assistant coaching career at Southern Methodist University from 1997-1999, where he assisted Greg Ryan, now head coach of the United States National Team. During Dillon's two seasons at SMU, the Mustangs compiled a 26-15-1 (.631) overall mark and won two-straight Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division titles, going 11-1-0 in the process. SMU also won the 1997 WAC tournament championship, while posting a 17-5-1 record and advanced to the NCAA regional tournament.
"It's a great opportunity to be able to build a program from the ground up," said Dillon on what attracted him to Lamar. "I was really impressed with the academics at Lamar and I quickly realized this is a great place to recruit student-athletes.
"I firmly believe that the potential is here to build a great program. There is great youth soccer and high school soccer in Southeast Texas. All the colleges in Texas are doing well because this is a great state for soccer."
In addition to his collegiate experience, Dillon also holds a United States Soccer Federation A license, the highest available. He also served as a women's soccer head coach with Athletes in Action International Summer Projects from 1990-99. His travels with AIA have taken him to Central America, Africa and Europe.
A 1984 graduate of Toccoa Falls (Ga.) College with a B.S. in missiology, Dillon earned his M.A. in curriculum and teaching from Columbia University in 1986. While at Toccoa Falls, Dillon helped the Eagles win three regional championships as a defender and midfielder. Following his graduation from Columbia, Dillon was an elementary classroom teacher in his native Nyack, N.Y., public school district from 1987-97, while also serving as head women's soccer coach at Nyack High School from 1991-97.
"As far as building the program, I will be looking at current students at Lamar who played in high school or club soccer and want to play collegiately," said Dillon. "Then I will look at some junior college players, because they will bring some maturity to the program, and freshmen, who will be the foundation of the program. I will also be receptive to players who may want to transfer. Then I'll see where we are at after the first year and recruit accordingly."
Dillon and his wife, Gina D. Fulner-Dillon, are parents of a son, Zachary, 8.
Lamar, who will be fielding a women's soccer team at the NCAA Division I level for the first time in school history, will compete in the Southland Conference in 2007.