WALNUT RIDGE, AR (WBC) - Shane Stolz has traded in the office for the sidelines. Stolz, a 2009 Williams Baptist College graduate, says he jumped at the chance to return to his alma mater as its new soccer coach and sports information director, leaving behind a good job in Little Rock to do so.
"My main reasoning is that I wanted to have an impact on people's lives, particularly young adults. I know the impact that so many of the people at Williams had on me and the way it shaped my life, and I really wanted to be able to do that for others," Stolz commented.
The new coach and SID assumed his duties at Williams this week. A former Eagles soccer player, Stolz replaces his one-time coach, Dan Watson. Watson, who is WBC's vice president for business, is leaving Williams to serve on the mission field.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to continue the tradition that Coach Watson set forth from a discipline standpoint, and I'm looking forward to success on the field. I'm very fortunate," Stolz said.
Stolz is a native of Harrison, Ark., who played on three state championship soccer teams at Harrison High School. He logged four years on the soccer field at Williams and another year as a student assistant coach while completing his degree in business administration.
Since graduating from Williams, Stolz has been working with Stephens, Inc., a widely respected company in Little Rock, where he had the title of government clearing agent. But then he got the call to return to Williams.
He acknowledges that, at the age of 25, it is somewhat intimidating to take the reins of the soccer program. "Fortunately, I've had some great mentors in the coaching field. Even though I'm intimidated, I've been able to talk to different coaches about strategies for taking on this role," he said.
He says the first order of business will be endurance when his players arrive in August. The team will be required to run three miles in 21 minutes, and then they will focus on a six-mile run. From there, he will implement strategy.
"My style of play is short passes and controlling the possession and tempo of the game," the coach said. "Our defense will be high pressing. When the other team has the ball we want to suffocate them and get the ball back. The style is similar to teams like Barcelona and Ajax in European soccer."
In addition to coaching soccer, Stolz is taking on the job of sports information director, a position that involves processing news and statistical information for all of the WBC athletic programs.
"It's going to require a lot of keeping statistics, writing articles, doing live stats for most home games in all sports, Twitter updates and generally keeping everyone informed of what's going on within the athletic department at Williams," he noted.
"Shane has a great knowledge of soccer, and he has a strong desire to see this program succeed. In addition, he has both the technical and athletic knowledge that are required of a sports information director, and we look forward to working with him," said WBC Athletic Director Jeff Rider.
Stolz is the son of Matt and Joy Tomlinson of Harrison and Steve Stolz of Republic, Mo.
He expressed his appreciation to three of his former coaches for their influence in his life: Harrison coach Chris Pratt and former WBC coaches Dan Watson and Bob Culbreath.
"Coach Pratt led us to three state championships, and he is just a father-like figure and mentor for me. Coach Watson grew me into a man from a professional and disciplinary standpoint. Coach Culbreath gave me the opportunity to be here to begin with," Stolz said.
Stolz will get his first test as a coach on August 30, when the soccer Eagles open their 2011 season by hosting Freed-Hardeman University.
Williams is a 4-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. The Eagles compete in the American Midwest Conference of the NAIA.