MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Jan. 9, 2018) – Milligan College has hired David Lilly, a 2007 alumnus, to serve as men’s soccer head coach, returning to his alma mater after spending the last eight seasons as a men’s soccer assistant coach at East Tennessee State University. The announcement was made at a press conference today on Milligan’s campus.
“We’re happy to have someone of David Lilly‘s caliber joining us to lead the men’s soccer program forward,” President Dr. Bill Greer said. “Not only is David technically competent, experienced, and professional, but he’s also the product of Milligan College. To have someone who played here and studied here come back to coach and mentor our students is a real win. He understands us, our culture, and our values – and he knows we have high expectations. I fully expect David to exceed them.”
In Lilly’s eight seasons at ETSU the Bucs made three appearances at the NCAA national tournament, as well as five performances in the Atlantic Sun and Southern Conference Championship finals. ETSU also posted a record of 81-49-25.
Prior to his eight seasons at ETSU, Lilly played professionally for the Carolina Railhawks (now North Carolina FC) in Cary, North Carolina, playing one season for them while serving as assistant coach for Milligan in the professional offseason (2007-2009). While on coaching staff for Milligan in 2009, the Buffs won the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season championship.
“I’m very excited to return to Milligan and thankful to Dr. Bill Greer and Mark Fox for the opportunity,” Lilly said. “Milligan gave me my first opportunity in college soccer, and it feels great to be given the chance to lead the program as head coach. Milligan soccer has a great tradition of success and I look forward to building on that success in the years to come.”
As a student-athlete at Milligan, Lilly was part of the Buffs’ history-making team that appeared at the NAIA national championship in 2006. Milligan went 18-7 overall and won the AAC regular season and NAIA Region XII. Lilly led the Buffs in scoring in 2005 and 2006. He earned NAIA All-American honorable mention in 2006 and earned AAC Player of the Year in both 2005 and 2006.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lilly said of his time as a Milligan student-athlete. “I was lucky enough to be part of the first conference championship Milligan had. We had a great team and it set the foundation for what I wanted to achieve after that.”
Lilly said he’s looking forward to being a head coach for the first time. “I’ve been lucky to work with some great head coaches,” he said. “It’s important to set the foundation for everything that will happen in the fall. Getting on the field is the most exciting part.”
With already a few goals in mind, Lilly is ready to get to know his guys first. “I want to get the culture right and get the mentality right. It’s going to be great to get to know everybody on and off the field. Understanding the guys as players and setting realistic goals is important. I want to win championships.”
Lilly, originally from Coatbridge, Scotland, graduated from Milligan with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned two graduate degrees at ETSU: a master’s degree in business administration in 2012 and a master’s degree in kinesiology and sport management in 2014.