Jon Atkinson is set for his 17th year at Longwood University during 2019-20 academic year and his 15th year as head coach of the men’s soccer program following his appointment in February 2005. Atkinson, the 2013 Big South Coach of the Year, owns an overall record of 84-149-34 in his 14 seasons as Longwood head coach, including 55-51-16 at home.
Before he become the head boss of the Lancers, Atkinson previously served as an assistant coach on the men’s soccer coaching staff beginning in 2003 after spending time in the professional ranks playing with premiership outfit Sunderland and Darlington FC, managing 18 appearances for the Quakers before coming to the United States. Due to a career-ending injury, Atkinson turned his hand to coaching while gaining his FA Badge during his time with the Black Cats. He currently holds US Soccer Coaching A License and serves on the Board of Directors for the local Thunder FC club soccer program.
Atkinson has had 15 players earn Big South All-Conference accolades in Longwood’s six seasons as a Big South member and he guided his program to the 2016 Big South Championship game, as one of four programs to reach the Big South final.
The 2017 season saw an injury-plagued Longwood squad go 1-15-2, missing the Big South Tournament for the first time since joining the league. The Lancers played a difficult out-of-conference schedule, playing four ACC opponents, as well as then-ranked No. 9 UNCW. Longwood was led by its senior center back tandem of Marten Pajunurm and Tom Devitt, who anchored the back line. The Lancers played in 11 one-goal games with four of those games being decided in overtime.
After a golden goal victory over rival Liberty in the 2016 regular season finale to clinch a spot in the Big South Tournament, Atkinson and the Lancers rode a hot streak to the finals before eventually falling to top-seeded Radford. In that run, the Lancers knocked off UNC Asheville and High Point on the road to take the league by storm.
Longwood men's soccer finished the 2016 season with an 8-12-1 record behind the dynamic duo of Finnlay Wyatt, who scored six goals and added six assists, and Dan Campos, who led the NCAA with 12 assists from his midfield position. After success with the Lancers, Wyatt signed a professional contract with the Richmond Kickers while Campos returns for his senior campaign.
Atkinson’s Lancers enjoyed a breakout 2015 campaign, doubling their wins and improving to an overall record of 9-9-1 and 4-4-1 in Big South play. The team ranked amongst the Big South’s top-three for goals scored after the squad’s group of freshman accounted for nearly half of Longwood’s total. The storm of scoring was led by All-Big South second team selection and redshirt-freshman Willy Miezan, who finished the season nationally-ranked as one of the top scorers in Division I.
The 2014 campaign saw the Lancers run into a string of tough losses on the way to a 4-14-1 record. Longwood lost eight one-goal games but managed three Big South wins, including back-to-back victories over Presbyterian and Campbell. Despite the hard-luck season, Longwood still managed to qualify for the Big South Tournament with a seventh-place finish thanks to the emergence of first-year standouts Dan Campos and VCU transfer Finnlay Wyatt, who combined for six goals in their inaugural seasons in Farmville.
Longwood finished 7-9-4 overall in 2013, including an impressive 6-3-1 record in the Big South Conference, while advancing to the league tournament semifinals. In their first year as part of the Big South in 2012, Atkinson's Lancers compiled a 3-12-3 overall mark, including a 2-7-1 record in league play. The squad's first-ever Big South victory was a 1-0 decision at UNC Asheville on Sept. 9.
Atkinson led Longwood to an overall record of 11-6-3 throughout the 2011 season, including 6-2-1 at home and a 2-2 mark in the Atlantic Soccer Conference (ASC) while winning the ASC Tournament Championship for the second time in four years. It was the most wins for the program since 2002. He led the Lancers to a record of 2-13-4 during 2010, including 0-3-1 in the ASC, following a record of 6-12-2 during 2009, including 2-2 in the ASC while finishing as ASC Tournament runners-up. Atkinson led Longwood to its first ASC Tournament Championship in 2008, finishing 8-8-4 overall, 2-2 in the ASC while going 4-2-2 at the Athletics Complex where the program is 26-14-5 since 2006 when competition first began at the facility.
Atkinson and the Lancers have averaged over six wins per season in one of the toughest regions in the nation over the past eight years. He led the program to an overall record of 7-10-2 during his first season in 2005, including 3-2-1 in the ASC while playing a schedule that included five Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) members. It was a dramatic turnaround from the year before when the squad finished 1-16 (2004), and even more impressive was Longwood finishing second during its first year competing in the ASC, though unable to participate in the ASC Tournament due to the Division I Reclassification.
Longwood was 7-8-2 overall in 2007, including 3-2 in the ASC while advancing to the ASC Tournament Championship match for the first time before falling on penalty kicks to finish as runners-up for the first time. The Lancers were 6-8-4 overall in 2006, 2-2-2 in the ASC.
Prior to Longwood, Atkinson was an assistant coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1999-2002; helping guide WVWC to a pair of West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) titles and a runners-up finish in three years. He was also the WVIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior student-athlete with the Bobcats, scoring a school-record 29 goals during 2001. Atkinson was the head coach of both the boys and girls soccer programs at Lewis County (W.Va.) High School during 2001-02, leading the two teams to appearances in the state finals, for the first time in school history.
Atkinson is dedicated to soccer and spends much of his free time improving the college game while giving back to the local community with numerous off-season and summer camps and clinics. He has served as a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) regional ranking committee member, the ASC’s Major League Soccer (MLS) Combine Selection representative, and an Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region I coach since 2008.
A native of Newcastle, England, Atkinson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in sports management from Wearside College in Sunderland, England, his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Sunderland University, and his Master of Business Administration degree from West Virginia Wesleyan. He is married to Nikki (Hall) Atkinson ’98, a former Longwood women’s basketball All-American and Academic All-America student-athlete. The couple has three sons, Jack, Charlie, Max and a daughter, Ella.