Mark McKeever begins his 13th season as head coach of the Young Harris College men’s soccer program.
The Motherwell, Scotland, native has led the Mountain Lions to a 156-60-11 (.711 winning percentage) during his time in the Enchanted Valley. Five players - Ilija Ilic, Niall McCabe, Khurram Shazad, Samuel Mansour and Lewis Hilton - have gone on to play professional soccer under McKeever's tutelage.
McKeever saw the Mountain Lions win their third consecutive Peach Belt Conference Tournament title as Young Harris went 11-6-1 during the 2016 campaign. For the fifth consecutive year, the Mountain Lions had a player be recognize as a Academic All-American when Ramin Varnhorn was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Soccer third team. In addition, the Mountain Lions, who were ranked as high as ninth nationally during the season, earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the sixth consecutive year.
Young Harris went 17-4-0 in 2015 as the Mountain Lions won their third consecutive PBC title and earned their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II postseason. Young Harris advanced to the third round, losing to eventual national champion Pfeiffer University. Two players were named All-Americans, while the Mountain Lions had three honored on the Southeast Region team. Hilton was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Soccer second team and was named to the NSCAA Men's Division I and Division II Scholar All-America first team. In addition, Tim Mohlin Torringer earned the PBC Elite 15 award for men's soccer. The award is modeled on the NCAA's Elite 90 and honors the student-athletes competing in the championship event with the highest cumulative GPA. Torringer is the third Mountain Lion to earn the award in the five seasons the award has been presented.
McKeever led the Mountain Lions to their finest season in the program's history as the Mountain Lions went 19-1-1 in 2014. Young Harris, which won 19 matches in a row, captured its second consecutive Peach Belt Conference title and its first-ever PBC Tournament title in 2014. The Mountain Lions, who finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation, earned their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament. YHC advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Lynn University.
McKeever was recognized as the NSCAA Senior College Division II Southeast Region Coach of the Year while Ilic was named the NSCAA NCAA Division II National Men's Soccer Player of the Year and the NSCAA Men's Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. In addition to Ilic, three other Mountain Lions were named All-Americans and four were named to the NSCAA Division II Southeast Region team. Ilic and Lewis Hilton were also named to the NSCAA College Division Scholar All-America team while Ilic was named to the Capital One Division II Academic All-America® Men's Soccer first team. It is the third consecutive year that the Mountain Lions have had a player be recognized as an Academic All-American.
McKeever led the Mountain Lions to a 16-2-0 record in 2013 as Young Harris captured the College's first-ever Peach Belt regular-season championship with a perfect 9-0-0 ledger. The team ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Region and No. 1 in the country.
McKeever was recognized as Peach Belt Coach of the Year and his players were flooded with recognition at the conference, regionally and national level. At the conference level, the Mountain Lions had six players named to the All-PBC team in addition to having a YHC player named Freshman of the Year in the league for the second consecutive year and another recognized as the Player of the Year in the Peach Belt.
Young Harris had five players named to the NSCAA NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region team, including three tabbed to the first team. The program's first NSCAA Division II All-Americans were also recognized when Ilic was selected to the second team and Paco Craig was named to the third team.
Ilic was also the second consecutive YHC men's soccer player to receive the PBC Elite 15 award in 2013. The Mountain Lions had two Capital One Academic All-District III selections and a NSCAA College Division Scholar All-South honoree in 2013. At the national level, Young Harris also had a player recognized as a NSCAA College Division Scholar All-American.
The Mountain Lions went 14-4-2 record in 2012 as the Mountain Lions joined the Peach Belt. The Mountain Lions, who advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament, was ranked as high as No. 6 nationally in the NSCAA NCAA Division II Top 25 poll, becoming the college's first nationally ranked team since the college became a four-year institution. The Mountain Lions has three players named to the all-conference and all-region teams, including one that was honored as the conference's Freshman of the Year.
McKeever tallied a 10-6-1 ledger in 2011 as the men's soccer squad became the college's first regionally ranked team since the college became a four-year institution. The Mountain Lions were ranked as high as No. 6 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's NCAA Division II Southeast region.
In his time as a coach in the NJCAA, McKeever lead his teams to the Region 17 Final in four of his five years. He was selected the Region 17 Coach of the Year in 2007. The Mountain Lions were ranked in the top 15 of national standings in both 2008 and 2009. His players have received numerous prestigious awards, including NJCAA All-American, NSCAA All-American, and Region 17 Player of the Year.
Prior to transferring to the United States as a student-athlete, McKeever served as a YTS for two years with the professional club Hamilton Academicals F.C. Scotland. He continued his successful playing career in Tyler Community College from 1997-98 and transferred to Christian Brothers University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education.
During the 1998 season he was named an NJCAA All-American. In 2000, he claimed the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference Player of the Year award. The team he captained at CBU remains one of the most successful men’s soccer teams in the school’s history.
After graduating, McKeever went on to be elected the fourth pick in the draft for the USL professional league for the Nashville Metros. McKeever’s success did not end with his playing career. He began his coaching career at CBU with both men’s and women’s programs in 2003 as an assistant, winning the Gulf South Conference two consecutive years with the women's program.
McKeever’s accreditation includes the Scottish Football Association “D” license, the NSCAA National, Advanced National, and Premier Diploma. McKeever has spent the past three summers as the head coach of the Mississippi Brilla FC in the Premier Development League.
His motivation to gain knowledge and experience about the game extends to his players’ success athletically, and he devotes the same dedication to their success academically.
“My aim is to push my players to achieve their potential in the classroom and on the field as a means of building a solid base for the rest of their lives.”