Oshoniyi ready to get to work at ETSU

Joe Avento • Apr 2, 2014 at 7:31 PM

East Tennessee State is hoping Bo knows soccer.

The university formally introduced Adegboyega “Bo” Oshoniyi as its new men’s soccer coach Wednesday during a news conference at Summers-Taylor Stadium.

“We’re excited,” Oshoniyi said. “My family and I are excited to be here. It’s a great university. Going through the interview process, getting a chance to go around the campus, getting a chance to go around town, we just knew that it was right. When I got the call and they wanted to extend the position to me, I was ecstatic. I’m really excited to be here, really excited to get with our guys and get to work.”

Oshoniyi comes to ETSU from Penn State, where he was an assistant coach. He’s also been on the staffs at Wake Forest and South Florida. As a player, Oshoniyi was a two-time All-American goalkeeper at Southern Connecticut, a school he helped win two NCAA Division II national championships.

“We’re excited about where this program is going,” ETSU Athletic Director Richard Sander said. “We don’t want to just win conference championships in men’s soccer, we want to advance in the NCAA tournament and want to advance deep in the NCAA tournament. We found the right person that’s going to help us do that and lead this program. I think there are great days ahead for ETSU soccer.”

Oshoniyi also played 12 years of professional soccer, becoming the first African-American goalie to start a game in MLS, in 1996 with the Columbus Crew. He also played for the Kansas City Wizards, winning the MLS championship in 2000.

The new ETSU coach replaces Scott Calabrese, who started the program in 2008 and took it to two NCAA tournaments. Calabrese left for the head coaching position at Florida International.

Oshoniyi takes over a program that won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament and played in the NCAA tournament last spring.

“I think that’s one of the best things,” he said. “When assistant coaches look to becoming head coaches, I think a lot of times they’re taking over programs that are below .500, haven’t made the NCAA tournament in a long time. Coming into this program is a great opportunity. The success has already been there. We have a good group that are here now. All in all, this is a great opportunity.”

Summers-Taylor Stadium, home of the ETSU men’s and women’s teams, was a recruiting tool that Oshoniyi admitted he couldn’t ignore.

“This facility is one of the finest facilities in the country,” he said. “I’ve been in facilities in the Big Ten, ACC, Big East.”

A new staff will be put together in the coming weeks. David Lilly, an assistant under Calabrese, has run the day-to-day operations of the team in between coaches. Oshoniyi said he’s hoping to get a staff together quickly, and it might or might not include Lilly.

“It’s going to be a little bit ongoing,” Oshoniyi said. “I think David Lilly has done an extremely good job throughout the spring. I’m excited to get to know David. We’re going to talk about it, just to see where he’s at, just to get to know him. There’s been an outpouring of people that want the position, so we’re definitely going to entertain those as well.”

Oshoniyi was initially announced as ETSU’s coach on March 27. There were almost 150 applicants for the position.

“As we looked at a lot of different coaches, we kind of had a profile of the individual we wanted to bring in,” Sander said. “ That was somebody who had been a winner, somebody who had great integrity, somebody who would take our program to the next level. We also wanted somebody who could be a great role model for our players, somebody who had played the game at a high level.

“So we looked at these things, and when you put that together, sometimes somebody like that is difficult to find. But when we looked through all the candidates ... We found the right person with the right fit.”

Many ETSU coaches from other sports were at the news conference to welcome the newest member of the Bucs’ family. Also present were Oshoniyi’s wife Tippi, 6-year-old son Xander, 1-year-old son Rennick and 4-year-old daughter Londyn.

“I’m just truly blessed to have a family that understands the demands of coaching in college athletics,” he said. “They’re with me through thick and thin. I’m excited to bring them here.”

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