GCCC hires Long to guide women's soccer

12/5/2013

By The Telegram

sports@gctelegram.com

When Garden City Community College's athletic department began its search for a women's soccer coach to replace Kai Thornberry, who resigned one day before the 2013 season began, the committee knew that it needed to find somebody with experience, and someone that understood how to build, or in this case rebuild, a program.

So when Chuck Long was introduced Wednesday afternoon at a press conference in the Hall of Fame Room at Perryman Athletic Complex, the Broncbusters' administration felt like they had found just the right person to guide the Lady Busters in 2014.

Long, who has served most recently as the head men's soccer coach at Talladega (Alabama) College, brings a wealth of experience and success to the GCCC program.

"When the search committee went through the résumés, and all the pondering you do to hire someone, this résumé truly stuck out as someone that you always hope that you can find on paper, but even more so you hope you can find as a person," said Dan Delgado, assistant athletic director and sports information director in introducing Long.

Long is a native of Brazil, considered one of the great soccer countries around the world, and his background is a testament to that popularity of the sport.

In his one season at Talladega, Long guided the men's team to a 15-5 record after the team had been 2-16 the year before.

"It is a challenge," Long said of the GCCC job. "Here's a big example, the exact situation. There's a girl at the high school that I met with this morning, and she wants to go to Coffeyville. And I said, 'well, do you want to get out of town?' She said, 'well, you all lost.' The program's been losing. For me, I like to win. I like to do it right. I like to progress the program.'"

Long said the challenge is in overcoming the program's recent record.

"What I'm going to convince them is that we're in a perfect situation," Long said. "Who is going to take us seriously next year walking in with a 1-11 record (KJCCC)? We're going to kick butt next year. And they're going to say, 'oh, we killed them last year. We're going to kill them again this year.'"

In his brief tour of Garden City, Long said he has been impressed.

"I like the staff here, the athletic director and the assistant athletic directors, and different people I've met," Long said. "They're good people, and the city is amazing. It's the biggest small town I've ever been in in my life."

Long already has met with the Lady Busters' team, and on Tuesday met with interim head coach Hector Martinez, who filled in this season after Thornberry's resignation in August.

"I understand why you had a rough year," Long said he told Martinez. "There will be some challenges also in terms of recruiting. But I have strong connections, and I will contact coaches and friends, people I've known over the years."

Long said his international connections would also serve him and the program well.

"Being a bit of an international myself, I'm going to try to bring in a couple of international players, as well," Long said. "I've been recruiting fairly heavy out of El Paso (Texas), Las Vegas and the Dallas area. But I'm going to start with Kansas."

Long has an extensive coaching record that includes Western Texas College of Snyder (2008-12), Southwestern Oregon Community College of Coos Bay (2004-2006), Mount Marty College of Yankton, S.D. (2002-2004), University of West Florida in Pensacola (men's coach, 1987-1992) and Bellhaven College of Jackson, Miss. (1982-1986).

Long also has worked with businesses in the international community, while also serving as professor of physical education and ethics and the cross country coach and soccer trainer at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, Fla. (2006-2008).

He graduated from high school in Ceres, Goias, Brazil, in 1978, and then moved to the United States.

He attended Wheaton College in Ill., where he received a B.A. in Biblical studies. He received a master's degree in international studites from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson Miss. and a second master's degree in physical education from Mississippi College in Clinton.

Long also began working on his Ph.D in public adminsitration at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala.

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