MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon head men's soccer coach Matt Williams is making the move to the Division I level.
The University of Memphis officially announced the hiring of Williams as a men's assistant soccer coach on Friday.
"When you begin your coaching career, you want to take it to the highest level possible," Williams said. "Having an opportunity like this, so early in my career, it's exciting. It's an opportunity you can't pass up. I look forward to the new challenges and learning experiences ahead."
Williams spent the past three seasons at Huntingdon, joining the Hawks as an assistant coach in 2012 and serving as head coach in 2013 and 2014.
"It's tough to leave these guys. It's been awesome to watch them grow and mature from 18-year-old kids to young men," Williams said. "But I know they are going to continue to work hard and I'm excited to see how they go on from here.
"I want to thank the players. I am appreciative of their hard work in helping change the culture around our program. It wasn't perfect every day, but they saw the vision and wanted more for themselves. It was awesome to be part of a program where everybody was on the same page and wanted to get better."
During Williams' first season as head coach, the Hawks set their NCAA-record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 31 and tied their NCAA-era mark with five shutouts. In his second season, Huntingdon again tied its NCAA-era record with 31 goals allowed.
Eight of his players were named to the USA South All-Academic team in 2013. The 2014 All-Academic team has yet to be released, but 10 men's soccer's players met the criteria and are expected to be named.
"We are very appreciative of the job that Matt did while he was leading our men's soccer program," Huntingdon athletic director Mike Turk said. "During his time as our head coach, the program has made significant strides from a competitive standpoint. He has changed the culture of the program, and while I am sad to see him go, we are very pleased with the direction that our program has taken under his leadership. Our next coach will have a strong foundation to build upon."
While at Huntingdon, Williams also completed several coaching courses, reaching the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Premier Diploma as well as the United States Soccer Federation's National "B" License.
Before Huntingdon, Williams was a student-assistant at the University of West Florida and an assistant coach for the Gulf Coast Texans in the Women's Premiere Soccer League. As a player, Williams played collegiately at the University of North Florida and the University of West Florida. He was a first-team All-Conference selection at UWF.
Following college, Williams played in the United Soccer Leagues, first with Panama City in the Premier Development League and later with Real Maryland in the USL 2nd Division. He also played with Team Wellington in the ASB Premiership.