Lees-McRae College Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail announced on August 9, 2019 that Shane Calvert has been named the new head coach of the men's soccer program. Calvert, who is the tenth head coach in the history of the program, brings several years of coaching experience at the high school and collegiate levels to Banner Elk.
"We were looking for a dynamic leader for our men's soccer program," said McPhail. "Shane showed us everything in the time we spent together. His knowledge of the game, understanding of who we are and desire to make an impact in these young men's lives were critical pieces to identifying our next head coach. He articulated a plan to continue the strong tradition of men's soccer at Lees-McRae with a passion we enjoyed. I'm excited to work with him and watch those young men thrive in his system."
Calvert joins the Bobcat family after spending the past two years as the Head Boys Soccer Coach/Director of Operations/Summer Camps Coordinator at the Darlington School Soccer Academy in Rome, Georgia. During his time there, Calvert was responsible for the day-to-day operations, planned and executed training programs and recruiting eligible students to the institution.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to become the head men's soccer coach at Lees McRae College," Calvert said. "Becoming a head college coach has always been my dream and one I have prayed for a long time. I would like to thank Dr. King and Mr. McPhail for the opportunity to lead the program at such a special place. Coach Ralph Lundy, Coach Mike Noonan, and Coach Ralph Polson have had such a huge influence in my career and I would not be here today if not for them. My wife and I look forward to being a part of Lees-McRae College and the Banner Elk community."
Calvert's collegiate coaching experiences include stops at Wofford College (2015-2017), Clemson University (2014-2015) and his alma mater Tusculum University (2005-2007). At Clemson, Calvert helped coach the Tigers to the 2014 ACC Championship and to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. During his time with Tusculum, Calvert helped coach the team that reached No. 1 in the NCAA Division II national rankings.
As a coach in the high school ranks, Calvert also has a decorated resume with over 100 victories. He has been the head soccer coach Morristown West High School (Morristown, Tenn.), Dobyns Bennett High School (Kingsport, Tenn.), Spartanburg High School (Spartanburg, S.C.) and the Darlington School Academy as previously mentioned. Additionally, Calvert has earned multiple District Coach of the Year, Regional Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year honors as a prep head coach to go along with multiple State Tournament appearances. Furthermore, Calvert guided his team at Spartanburg High School to the No. 1 ranking in the state of South Carolina.
A native of Clinton, South Carolina, Calvert is a graduate of Tusculum University with a degree in marketing.
Hunter Gray joined the Lees-McRae coaching staff in the fall of 2019. Gray brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the coaching staff of the Bobcats.
Gray comes to Lees-McRae after a lengthy tenure as the Head Girls' Soccer Coach at Indian Springs School in Alabama. Gray, who was the team's Head Coach since 1993, totaled an all-time record of 343-150-30 during his time leading that program. He led his team to State Championships in 2003 and 2005 to go along with runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2008 and 11 Final Four appearances. Additionally, Gray also coached for the AHSAA Girls' North All-Star team in 1998, 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2016. On top of his experience as a soccer coach, Gray was also the Head Girls' Basketball Coach from 1993-2004, 2009-2011 and 2016-2018.
Gray also brings collegiate coaching experience to LMC as well. Up until joining the Bobcats, Gray was a volunteer assistant coach for the women's soccer program at Birmingham Southern College. He was responsible for assisting in the design and implementation of team practices, individual, small group, functional, team tactical and techinical instruciton using Sport Session Planer. He also designed scouting reports using Krossover and Game Plan, and built tactical game plans with personnel.
Gray's coaching success has also been shown in the number of awards he has received during his career. In 2003 and 2005, Gray was named Alabama's High School Coaches and the Athletic Director's Association Girls' Soccer Coach of the Year along with NSCAA Private/Parochial Alabama Coach of the Year in the same years. He was named the 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2018 Birmingham Metro Coach of the Year. He leaves the high school coaching ranks as the winningest girls coach in the state of Alabama (343), highest winning percentage (65.5%), most years coaching girls' soccer (26) and most games coached in girls' soccer (523).
Gray is a 1994 graduate of UAB where he played soccer (1989-1994). He also holds a USSF B license.