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Soccer: Buthelezi to lead LWC Men as Head Coach

By Christopher Coombs

Sicelo "Stitch" Buthelezi is set to be promoted to head coach of the Lindsey Wilson men's soccer team, athletics director Willis Pooler announced on Wednesday.

"I'm thankful for this great opportunity to lead a program that is so close to my heart," Buthelezi said. "Coming here as a student-athlete and then serving as an assistant coach under a hall of fame coach, I can't think of a better way to start my head coaching career.

"I want to thank the people that have supported and encouraged me throughout my coaching career," Buthelezi added. "I first want to thank my wife, Megan for her support and commitment throughout this journey. She pushes me to become a better leader and thank her for her support and encouragement of our LWC student-athletes. I would also like to thank Ray Wells for believing in me and teaching me what is needed to produce successful student-athletes. Finally, I truly appreciate the opportunity and support given to me by President Bill Luckey, Dean Adams, and Willis Pooler."

Buthelezi is the second head coach in the program's history, replacing Wells -- who won over 562 games in his 32 seasons at Lindsey Wilson. Wells is set to retire at the end of the 2021-22 academic season. The official head coaching transition will take place this summer but control and vision for the future of the program for Buthelezi begin immediately.

"I am pleased to announce the promotion of Sicelo Buthelezi to head men's soccer coach," Pooler said. "We are fortunate to have someone with his ability and credentials to step in and lead our highly successful program.

"Sicelo has been an extremely successful coach and player during his 11-plus years at Lindsey Wilson College," Pooler added. "He knows and lives our mission and is well respected by our student-athletes. He's a good person and is committed to helping our student-athletes grow and develop as people on their path to graduation from Lindsey Wilson College. I'm looking forward to working with him in this new role."

Buthelezi has served as the Lindsey Wilson assistant coach for the past six seasons. He has helped guide the Blue Raiders to five NAIA National Championship appearances, including reaching the national semifinals during the 2019 season.

During his tenure, the Blue Raiders have produced an 83-22-8 overall record including a 44-4-3 mark in the Mid-South Conference, while winning three regular-season and three tournament titles.

"Coach Wells has worked very hard to build a successful men's soccer program at Lindsey Wilson College," Buthelezi said. "He is one of the best recruiters in the college, with an impressive list of accomplishments which gives me big shoes to fill. As a former student-athlete and assistant coach at Lindsey Wilson, I understand what is needed to ensure our program is the best in the nation.

"Coach Wells has assured me he will be around for a long time," Buthelezi added. "In fact, he told me when he retires, he will stand above the bench and let me know how it should be done. I'm looking forward to having him and his knowledge close by."

Before joining the Blue Raiders, Buthelezi spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Northwestern Ohio. While with the Racers, Buthelezi helped lead the team to a 17-5-2 record during the 2014 season, the regular season Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title, and an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament Semifinals. In 2015, Northwestern Ohio went 16-5 and captured the WHAC Tournament Championship.

Buthelezi also has previous coaching experience at the club level including with the Ohio Extreme Soccer Club U16, the Kentucky Rush in Somerset, Kentucky, and the Adair County Youth Soccer League.

Buthelezi adds an outstanding four-year career as a Blue Raider from 2009-12. He made 89 appearances, the sixth most in program history at the time, with 88 starts and recorded 21 shots, six goals, and two assists while helping to anchor a defense that compiled 46 total shutouts during his career as a central defender.

The two-time captain helped lead the Blue Raiders to the NAIA National Championship in 2009 and 2011 while collecting a pair of Mid-South Conference regular-season crowns and three MSC Tournament titles. Buthelezi was an NAIA Second Team All-American and NAIA All-Tournament Team selection in 2012, a two-time All-MSC First Team member, and twice earned All-MSC Honorable Mention honors. He even represented South Africa at the Under-20 level during his playing days.

"I'm excited to continue to work with our current players and would like to thank our former players who have taught me a lot about the game," Buthelezi said. "I look forward to motivating our players to be successful, hard-working, and responsible student-athletes who can use those skills in adulthood after they graduate."

This story was posted on 2022-01-05 19:07:12
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