Brett Parker, who built the Fort Hays State men’s soccer team into a national power in the eight-year history of the program, announced Thursday he is stepping down as FHSU head coach to accept the same position at Saint Leo (Fla.) University.
Parker led the program from its inception in 2011, amassing a 100-40-18 record at Fort Hays. He guided the Tigers to a 17-2-2 mark and NCAA Division II final four appearance last season.
"First of all, I would like to thank (FHSU Athletic Director) Curtis Hammeke and former FHSU president Dr. Edward Hammond for giving me the opportunity to start the program here from scratch eight years ago," Parker said in an FHSU news release. "So many players, coaches, administrators, and support staff have been instrumental in the immediate and continued success of the program. Fort Hays State is a truly special place and I will be forever grateful for having been a part of such an amazing place. I am excited to see the program continue to thrive from afar.”
The Tigers made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2012 to 2018 under Parker and won MIAA championships the last two seasons, going 8-0 in the conference last season. He guided Fort Hays to NCAA Central Region titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
This past season, Fort Hays punched its ticket to the national semifinals with a 2-0 victory over Ohio Valley on Nov. 17 in FHSU Soccer Stadium. The Tigers fell in penalty kicks to eventual national champion Barry in the final four in Pittsburgh.
Parker notched at least 11 wins in every season at Fort Hays. The Tigers ended last season ranked No. 4 in the country, a program best.
During Parker’s time at FHSU, he has coached 10 All-America selections, including 2018 D2CCA national Player of the Year Santiago Agudelo. He’s also coached 65 All-MIAA selections, 60 all-region selections, four MIAA Players of the Year, four MIAA Freshmen of the Year and three D2CCA Central Region Players of the Year.
Parker was named MIAA Coach of the Year in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and his staff earned United Soccer Coaches Regional Staff of the Year honors in 2018.
Prior to Fort Hays State, Parker coached two years at Lyon College (2009-2010) in Arkansas and one year at College of Santa Fe (2008) in New Mexico. He has an overall coaching record of 126-61-21.
"Coach Parker did an outstanding job building our men's soccer program from the very beginning of its existence," Hammeke said. "He provided excellent leadership for our student-athletes while competing at the conference, regional and national level. We wish him the very best in all his future endeavors."
Parker will look to turn around the soccer program at Saint Leo, a Division II school that competes in the Sunshine State Conference. The Lions went 3-13 last season and 2-11-1 in 2017.
“I believe we have recruited one of the best head coaches in all of Division II to lead our program,” Saint Leo Athletic Director Francis Reidy said in a news release.
A national search for the next FHSU soccer coach will begin immediately.