Milica Krsmanovic will return to Lee as an assistant under coaches Andrea and Kevin Hudson. Chris Hennessey, another former Flame, will assist women’s soccer coach Matt Yelton and Eric Kwame Appiah and Diego Gustin will team with men’s head soccer coach Paul Furey.
Krsmanovic is replacing another ex-Lady Flame All-American, Bruna Langner, who resigned earlier in the year to accept the head volleyball position at Dalton (Ga.) State College.
"We are very privileged to have Milica back working with our volleyball program," said coach Andrea Hudson. "She was able to leave and get her MBA and be a graduate assistant at a NCAA Division II school (Southern Arkansas), so the timing was perfect for her to step in as we are making this transition to the NCAA.
"Her volleyball knowledge is exceptional in both hitting and setting, and her work ethic is amazing. She has already jumped in with both feet and will be a great asset to our program this year."
Krsmanovic was used as a setter and outside hitter as a four-year starter for the Lady Flames. During her senior season Lee recorded an outstanding 38-6 record and reached the Final Four of the NAIA National Tournament before losing to Georgetown. Over her four seasons the Lady Flames claimed four SSAC titles and posted a 122-43 record.
A third-team NAIA All-American during her senior season, Krsmanovic was named the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Player of the Year. She was also an NAIA and SSAC Scholar.
"Volleyball has been my life since I was 10," said Krsmanovic, when asked why she turned away from the business world and chose coaching. "As soon as I realized I would not be playing professional ball, I went after (and completed) my MBA degree and jumped at the opportunity to coach under Andrea and Kevin (Hudson). I love Lee and it’s my home away from home," explained the native of Sokolac, Bosnia.
Hudson said Krsmanovic will work with the team's setters and has the valuable overall knowledge of the game to help conduct all phases of the team's practice.
Chris Hennessey, an outstanding defender for the Lee University men's soccer program (2006-09), has returned to the Flames' athletic program and will serve as an assistant under Yelton.
Hennessey replaces Chris Walker, who accepted the women's soccer head coaching position at the University of North Alabama.
After a successful college playing career and receiving his degree in business, Hennessey spent the past 3 ½ years working as an instructor at All-Pro Soccer, entertaining a banking position and serving as the director of coaching for Central Maine United (a youth soccer program.)
"My wife (Jenae Storey) and I had been looking for an opportunity to return to warmer weather in the South," said Hennessey when asked about leaving the New England area. "Having the opportunity to work under coach (Matt) Yelton at Lee was something I could not say no too. I will learn so much from him as I become totally involved in the program and our move to the NCAA."
Hennessey, a native of Manchester, England, said it was Chris Walker who encouraged him to come to America and play with the Flames. "I had grown up playing with the Manchester City, an elite-level soccer program, and when that didn't work out," he noted, "I turned my attention to college and met my wife here at Lee."
Yelton admits replacing his assistant for the past three years was not an easy task. "When Chris (Walker) left to take the job at North Alabama I knew we would have a very difficult job in replacing him. Walker was an integral part of our program and it was a challenging process to even consider finding someone of his quality to bring in.
"We looked at several strong candidates and after completing the process felt that Chris (Hennessey) was the perfect fit for what we were looking for. We believe he will be an exceptional addition to our program, and I have already been very impressed by him during his short time on the job.
"Hennessey is very energetic and hard-working, and his knowledge of the game will be a great addition to our team. I am very excited about what he will bring to our program, and I'm confident that as we make the transition to the NCAA, Chris will be a key to a successful run in the next step of our program."
With Chris Walker at his side, the Lady Flames and Yelton posted a 65-5-3 record over the past three seasons and claimed two NAIA National Championships.
Coach Paul Furey has completed his staff for the 2013 season. Eric Kwame Appiah has been named assistant coach and Diego Gustin will join the staff as a graduate assistant.
The new coaching addition, a native of Asamankese, Ghana, played for Furey at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio). After graduation, the center-back standout spent one year as a graduate assistant at Heidelberg University (Tiffin, Ohio).
He anchored a Mount Vernon defense which posted 15 shutouts in 2009 en route to the NAIA national tournament, where he received all-tournament honors. In 2010, the Cougars finished with overall record of 17-7-2 and 11 shutouts. During his senior year, he was a co-captain and he helped maintained great leadership both on off the field of play.
“It’s great to be reunited with Kwame and to see the development he has displayed as a college coach,” said Furey. “Kwame was a model player for me and demonstrated many of the attributes to be a terrific collegiate coach after his graduation.
“He has a strong knowledge of the game, good administrative skills, maturity and work ethics to really help Lee soccer continue to grow and attain some lofty goals we are looking to achieve.
“Kwame will add a lot to our program in terms of recruiting, scouting, individual workouts with the players and assisting in training sessions,” added Furey. “He is very analytical and will contribute good insights during matches. Kwame is professional and courteous and his faith is evident in his life. He will represent Lee soccer and our university in a great way.”
“I’m happy to be a part of the Lee program,” the new coach said. “I’m going to bring everything I can to help make this program a national power.” He said Lee’s Christian environment was a major factor in his decision to join the Lee soccer staff.
“Coach Furey has always been a mentor to me,” the new coach added. “The campus is great and I was impressed during my meeting with (Lee athletic director) coach Carpenter.”
Gustin played for a strong NCAA Division II program (Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pa.). He was the goalkeeper and team captain of the 2012 squad that claimed the conference championship and finished the year at 17-6-1.
“I’m delighted to have Diego join us with the knowledge and experience he brings in working with our goalkeepers,” Furey said. Diego was a standout goalkeeper at Mercyhurst, helping his team reach the Final Four before losing to Lynn University (Fla.), the NCAA Division II National Champion.
“I like his winning attitude and the many gifts he will bring to the table here at Lee,” said Furey. “He will play a vital role working with our goalkeepers, as well [as utilizing] his marketing and media background to help in promotions and in game analysis. Diego is enthusiastic and energetic and will bring a lot of positive energy to the program.”
A native of Lima, Peru, Gustin will be seeking his MBA over the next two years. “It was not an accident that I found Lee and this position,” the new grad assistant pointed out. “I looked into the university’s background, as faith is very important to me.”
Like Furey, Gustin believes his experience as a goalkeeper and the work ethic he brings will be key factors in the success of the Lee program. “Coach Furey is strong in his Christian faith and I like the vision the staff has for this program.