Lander University

Lander University Athletics
320 Stanley Ave. Greenwood, SC 29649
Division 2 South Carolina Southeast
Public Small National competitor


Email coach

Chris Ayer

Chris Ayer enters his 14th season as head coach of the women's soccer program. Ayer became the first full-time women's soccer coach in Lander history when he was hired in May 2006.

Ayer is the winningest coach in Lander women’s soccer history with a 119-83-17 overall record in 13 seasons. He has taken the Bearcats to 11 Peach Belt Conference tournaments, one NCAA Tournament and has recorded six double-digit win seasons.

2018 marked an historic season for the Bearcats, as Ayer guided Lander to a 12-2-3 record and the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. Lander finished second in the conference, the highest finish ever for the Bearcats and was chosen as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Bearcats placed four players on the all-PBC team, the most for the program in four seasons. Emily Jermstad and Brianna Taylor were both tabbed as United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region selections. Lander went 6-0-2 at Van Taylor Stadium, giving the program its first unbeaten home record ever.

Lander reached the PBC Tournament for the 10th time in Ayer's career in 2017. The Bearcats averaged the highest attendance in program history, drawing an average of 205 fans per home match.

The 2014 team finished with an 8-3-4 record for the program’s sixth consecutive winning season. Prior to Ayer’s arrival in 2006, the Bearcats had recorded just one winning season in eight years.

The Bearcats tied the school record for wins in a season in 2013, finishing 13-5. Ayer’s team opened the season with a school-record nine game winning streak for the best start in program history.

Ayer led the Bearcats to a 10-4-3 mark in 2012, marking the first time in school history Lander posted back-to-back double-digit win seasons. The Bearcats finished with an 8-2-1 record in Peach Belt play and tied for second in the conference, their highest finish in program history. Jamie Shaw became Lander’s all-time leading scorer in 2012, finishing her career with 37 goals and 86 points. For his efforts, Ayer was honored as the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

Lander recorded 13 wins for the second time in program history in 2011, finishing the season with a 13-5 record. The Bearcats set a school record by shutting out 11 opponents.

The 2010 Bearcats finished with a 9-7-1 record, giving Lander back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in school history.

Ayer guided Lander to an 11-4-2 in 2009 for just the third winning season ever. The four losses on the year were the fewest in Bearcat history.

The 2007 team set a school record with 13 wins in Ayer’s second season as head coach. Lander finished the year with a 13-5 overall record, the first winning season for the program in eight years. Goalkeeper Rachel Hine led the Peach Belt Conference with eight shutouts. The Bearcats also earned the conference tournament victory in program history and Ayer was named the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year.

During his career at Lander, Ayer has coached an All-American in Jamie Shaw and five NSCAA All-Southeast Region players.

Ayer came to Lander from Coker College, where he was the head women's soccer coach from 2002-06 and doubled as the head men's soccer coach since 2003.

He posted an overall 23-44-4 record in four years at Coker for an overall slate of 142-127-21.

Ayer holds a USSF "A" license and a NSCAA Premier Diploma. He has served as a staff coach for the Region III ODP for the past four years and has been a state team coach for South Carolina for the past five years.

Ayer, a native of Columbia, S.C., earned his bachelor's degree in biology from David Lipscomb (Tenn.) University and played for the Bison's soccer team.

Following his graduation from Lipscomb, he spent two years as an assistant coach for his alma mater's men’s and women’s soccer teams, while earning his Master's degree in instructional leadership.

Chris is married to the former Kristen Plummer of Nashville, Tenn. and they have two children. Zachary Thomas, who was born on Sept. 3, 2008, and Zoey Madeline who was born June 22, 2013.

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Email coach

Noel McDaniel

Noel McDaniel enters her first season as assistant coach of the women's soccer program. McDaniel was hired in August of 2019.

McDaniel graduated from Lander in 2016 after playing four years of soccer. She appeared in 59 matches throughout her career at Lander, helping guide the Bearcats to a 38-20-8 overall record from 2012-15.

In 2013, McDaniel was named second-team All-Peach Belt Conference and made the Peach Belt Conference All-Academic team. As a junior in 2014, McDaniel was a third-team NSCAA All-Southeast Region and All-Peach Belt Conference selection.

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