Meridian Community College announced Tuesday it has promoted Sam Wilson to head coach of the school’s men’s soccer team.

Wilson has been an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s soccer teams for the past two seasons. He takes over for Mike Smith, who has served as head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams for the past several years. Smith will be an assistant for the men’s team this year while remaining head coach of the women’s team.

Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson

“I just want to thank my wife and family, Mike Smith and the MCC administration for this opportunity,” Wilson said. “I’m very excited to take over such a history-rich program. My No. 1 goal is to help build these young men into better leaders, husbands and fathers.” 

When he came on as an assistant at MCC, Wilson said he and Smith discussed the possibility of splitting up head coaching duties between the men’s and women’s team. In 2018, that plan started to materialize.

“Last year, I kind of stepped in and ran the men’s program,” Wilson explained. “I did most of the tactics and lineups, and Mike let me grow into that and learn as I went.”

In the last month, the idea of Wilson taking over the men’s team began to pick up steam. Now that it’s official, Wilson said he couldn’t be more excited to lead a team he grew up watching.

“I was a ball boy for MCC when I was playing soccer, so I got to watch them be successful in the late ’90s and early 2000s,” Wilson said. “To be able to serve my hometown and community coaching a program I love is an opportunity I don’t take lightly.”

Prior to his time at MCC, he was the head boys soccer coach at Newton County High School for five seasons. During his tenure at Newton County, the Cougars qualified for the playoffs four times and made it to the MHSAA Class 4A South State championship game in that span. 

"I'm excited to have Coach Wilson take the helm of our men's soccer program,” MCC athletic director Sander Atkinson said. “His knowledge and passion for soccer, coupled with his desire to help student-athletes reach their academic and athletic goals, are just what the program needs. I look forward to watching his teams compete for years to come."

Wilson is a 2006 graduate of Meridian High School. He said his goals are to help bring excitement back to MCC soccer and give local players a path to playing soccer at the next level.

The Eagles kick off their season with an exhibition game against Hinds Community College on Aug. 9.

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