August 9, 2018
Emmanuel Awotula is arguably one of the most intelligent head coaches in all of college soccer, not just on the bench but in the classroom. After moving to the US from Nigeria to play at the Tennessee Temple University (TTU), Awotula became an assistant head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams and later became the head coach of the women’s program. In his first season at TTU, he took the school to its best record ever. At TTU, he obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He’d eventually attain a Master’s of Science in Education degree as well as a Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction degree from Oakland City University. He would later earn a doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. A man of few words, we had the pleasure to sit down with Emmanuel to learn more about his coaching style as he enters his 3rd season as head coach of Lincoln University.
blacksoccercoaches.org: Emmanuel, thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. Last year, you finished with a record of 6-11, and in your first year (2016) you finished with 3 wins, doubling your win total. What is your goal heading into the 2018 season and where do you see the team finishing this year?
EA: Entering the 2018 season we will be joining a conference for the first time in program history; this will be the hardest season of my career. We joined the East Coast Conference, a very good conference, but my goal is not to finish last in the new conference, rather I would like to make some noise in this conference.
blacksoccercoaches.org: Prior to taking over the Lincoln position, what was
your initial approach to building the program and has that changed as you
enter into your 3rd season?
EA: When I was hired my plan was to build a team. When I took over in June of 2016, I only had 8 players, so just building was my main goal and entering year three it has changed my goal. Now my goal is to build a team that can compete in the ECC year in and year out.
blacksoccercoaches.org: When building a college soccer program, can you list
your top 3 priorities?
EA: Scholarship, Support, Loyalty.
blacksoccercoaches.org: Recruiting season ended a couple of months ago, what
goals and objectives did you set and do you feel that you have accomplished
them to secure the future of the Lincoln program?
EA: One of our biggest issues last season was scoring consistently, so my goal was to bring in players that can score for us regularly. I did sign a couple of female players that I feel will be able to help us in this area.
blacksoccercoaches.org: What is your style of play and has it been
difficult to find female student-athletes who suite that style?
EA: Being from Nigeria, I like to play fast and physical. As far as a formation I go out and get the best players available to me and I run the formation that fits my players.
blacksoccercoaches.org: What do you look for in a student-athlete?
EA: I am looking for players who want to build something, I tell every player I recruit that this is a 4 year marriage. I am not looking for players who are only looking to come play for a couple of years and transfer out.
blacksoccercoaches.org: What positives did you take away from last season,
and where do you think the team can improve in 2018?
EA: Anytime you win more games than the year before it is a great positive. What I would like to see for us to be more consistent.
blacksoccercoaches.org: Where do you see the program 5 years from now?
EA: In five years, I would like to see Lincoln University win the ECC conference and make the NCAA D2 national tournament.
blacksoccercoach.org: Emmanuel, thank you very much for taking the time out to speak with us. Lincoln University will begin play on August 30th vs. University of Mount Olive. To follow LU this season, click here to view the schedule.