by Cory Guinn
WILSON, N.C. – Ian McMichael, a familiar face among Conference Carolinas institutions with 10 total years of coaching experience, has been selected by Barton College as the next head coach of the men's soccer team, school officials announced Monday.
"I am pleased that Ian McMichael has accepted the position of head coach of men's soccer at Barton College," said Todd Wilkinson, Barton's director of athletics. "Coach McMichael will take leadership of a talented team that consists of some strong student-athletes within the Barton community."
"I would like to thank Athletic Director Todd Wilkinson and Barton College for this fantastic opportunity," McMichael said. "I would also like thank my family and my mentor, Bob Reasso, for their support in achieving this position.
"I am grateful to inherit a program that is in a healthy state due to the decade of work of my predecessor, Matt Akins, and I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing to push the program to grow and leading a pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the program."
McMichael, who was most recently the head coach at NCAA Division III Hampden-Sydney College, also spent time at former league school Pfeiffer University for two seasons as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
During his time in Misenheimer, McMichael was an integral part in recruiting 34 student-athletes who won a Conference Carolinas championship and appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament in his final season. The Falcons were 1-15-2 prior to his arrival in the spring of 2013, but they proceeded to post massive improvement the next season, going 10-8-2, before winning 17 games, a program benchmark at the time.
During the 2015 season, members of McMichael's final recruiting class at Pfeiffer helped lead the Falcons to another league title on their way to winning the NCAA Division II National Championship with a perfect 25-0 record.
"Coach McMichael's experience as the associate head coach of Pfeiffer University under the mentorship of the legendary Bob Reasso is a distinctive credential that stood out during the search process," said Wilkinson.
"Having the day-to-day experience of enhancing a program and developing a Conference Carolinas champion was an important attribute towards his hiring. He was instrumental in recruitment, player development, and the operations of the program. Although he departed for the head-coaching job at Hampden-Sydney, his recruiting skills showed within the 2015 undefeated national championship soccer team at Pfeiffer."
In two seasons in charge of the Hampden-Sydney program, McMichael garnered 13 victories. His team began the 2016 season with five straight victories, the best start in program history, and tied for the fourth-most shutouts in a single season with six blank sheets.
McMichael also has coaching experience as a member of the coaching staffs for NCAA Division I programs UNC Wilmington and Xavier University. Following his stint at Xavier, he was the head coach at Topsail High School in Hampstead, N.C. for three seasons. He has also led a number of teams at the club level, including Cape Fear Soccer Club (now Wilmington Hammerheads) in Wilmington, N.C., and FCCA in Charlotte, N.C.
"North Carolina is loaded with talented players and I have enjoyed recruiting or coaching in this state for most of my career so far," McMichael said. "Character will be paramount as we recruit talented players from across the state and as we recruit talented players from across the world."
At Barton, McMichael will take over a program that went 6-11-1 overall and 4-5-1 in Conference Carolinas last season. The Bulldogs reached the league tournament for the seventh consecutive season before falling to No. 14 Pfeiffer in the semifinals.
"Our focus will start with being a tough team to beat, which will mean having a relentless commitment to defending and limiting scoring opportunities for our opponents," McMichael said. "We then will look to play modern football. We want to be dynamic in our attack and we want to dictate the game through possession. We want to be a threat on the counter and we want to be creative and cerebral in our approach. We will strive to be organized and dangerous on set pieces. And, knowing that we are in a results-driven business, we will be willing to play in whatever style, formation, and means to fight for points in our league."
McMichael holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and electronic media from University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts in teaching from UNC Wilmington. He will be joined in Wilson by his wife, Tina, and their three children, Willa, Koen and Hazel.
"The decision to come to Barton to coach was first and foremost a tremendous opportunity in the profession I am passionate and enthusiastic about," McMichael said. "I was quite impressed with the people I met through the interview process, including many of the current coaches, student leaders on campus, and a couple of alumni. And, most importantly, I chose to come to Barton because we see it has a wonderful opportunity for our family. We are excited to immerse ourselves in the community of Wilson and hopefully contribute positively to this community."