Stephen Lyons was tabbed to be the fifth head coach of the Carson-Newman men’s soccer program on Dec. 21, 2016. He is in his third year as head coach of the Eagles.
In his inaugural season at the helm of the Carson-Newman men’s soccer program, the Eagles garnered a 9-7-2 overall record, 6-2-2 in the conference, with a trip to the South Atlantic Conference tournament. The 2017 season marked the most successful of any first year coach in program history. The Eagles amassed a streak of eight consecutive clean sheets through the season, including a 1-0 shutout victory over No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne.
His second year at Carson-Newman saw the Eagles make the South Atlantic Conference semifinals for the first time since 2015 after taking down a second-seeded Queens squad in the quarterfinals. C-N had three All-SAC selections that season before Tobias Solem Karlsen and Twan Verweij received All-Southeast Region and CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honors, respectively.
Lyons led the Eagles to their 10th SAC regular season title during the 2019 season after being projected to finish at seventh in the league’s preseason poll. His third campaign with the Eagles culminated in nine SAC postseason accolades for the Orange and Blue, including Coach of the Year, marking the fourth time in program history a coach received the honor. His squad amassed a 10-4-3 record, the first double-digit wins season since 2015. C-N went 6-1-3 in conference action with a .750 winning percentage, its best since 2015 when it tallied a .818 clip. The team attained its highest national ranking in four years sitting at No. 13 near the end of October.
The 2019 postseason came with a flourish of 16 total awards for the Eagles, including seven All-SAC selections, the SAC Defensive Player of the Year and Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Kensho Yoshikoshi, two All-Region players, two United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-Region selections and a CoSIDA Academic All-District pick.
Lyons arrived in Jefferson City from Tennessee Wesleyan University, where he spent nine seasons guiding the men’s program.
As coach of the Bulldogs, Lyons amassed a record of 74-59-15, including a mark of 58-28-9 over the last five campaigns. During that same time, he compiled a ledger of 35-9-5 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Lyons twice led the squad to the regular season title in the AAC and they also captured the conference tournament championship in 2012, which earned them a trip to the NAIA National Tournament. In 2016, Tennessee Wesleyan posted an 11-4-4 mark with a 6-2-1 conference record. Their season included a 2-1 home victory over Carson-Newman on Sept. 5th. The program reached its highest spot in the national rankings in October 2016, when they rose to 22nd in the NAIA coaches poll.
Over the course of nine years in Athens, the native of Middlesbrough, England coached 18 players who were selected as first-team all-conference, as well as two student-athletes who earned AAC Freshman of the Year honors.
Lyons’ first coaching experience came in 2005 when he joined the staff at Middlesbrough F.C.’s Youth Academy. From there, he moved on to the University of Saint Mary in Kansas, spending two years as a graduate assistant while he earned his MBA.
The newest member of the Carson-Newman family is also a former student-athlete, as he spent four years on the soccer team at Tennessee Wesleyan and captained the 2001 edition of the squad to the national tournament. Lyons earned all-conference, all-region and All-American recognition during his time playing for the Bulldogs. His playing and coaching experience at TWU helped him become an inductee to the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
Following his time on the pitch for the Bulldogs, he then played professionally for two seasons in the New Zealand National League.
Stephen is married to Kristen Lyons.