Jimmy Stephens enters his 13th season as Head Men's Soccer Coach in 2017, guiding the program he was a member beginning with the inaugural team in 1992. A 2011 Piedmont College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Stephens has produced some of the program’s most recognized individuals while upholding the same commitment to success in athletics and academics alike throughout his more than 15 seasons coaching at the collegiate level.
Under his guidance, the men have posted a 101-108-10 overall record in Stephens’ first 12 seasons in Demorest for a winning percentage of .483. During that time, the Lions have garnered a conference tournament championship (2006) in addition to four conference tournament finals appearances (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010), seven-straight conference regular season runner-up finishes (2005-2011), four GSAC Players of the Year, 34 All-Conference players, 18 All-Freshman players, one D3Kicks.com All-American, and three consecutive NCAA Division III statistical leaders.
Stephens’ ability to mentor goal-scorers was never more apparent than the three-year stretch of 2006 to 2008 as the Lions’ leader helped Piedmont become the only Division III men’s soccer program to ever have three straight goals per game national statistical champions in history (Drew Griffin in 2006 & 2007, Jorge Pradilla in 2008). The coach also saw his team become one of just two programs in Division III history, along with Medaille, to have two different players lead the nation in points per game as Drew Griffin did so in 2007 while Jorge Pradilla followed up that season with his own statistical national championship in 2008.
In each of his seven seasons at Piedmont while the school was associated with the Great South Athletic Conference, Stephens produced the league’s top individual scorer while his team also led the league offensively in goals and points during those first seven years he led the program.
For his efforts, Stephens was twice named the GSAC Coach of the Year (2006, 2007) while also guiding the men’s team to the NSCAA Team Academic Award for carrying at least a 3.0 team grade point average in nine of his first 12 seasons at Piedmont.
His 2010 team also handed the head coach a special day with his 100th collegiate victory in men’s soccer in his 11th such season coming in a 4-0 shutout of Warren Wilson College on September 18th in the Ferrum Classic. In 2016, Stephens earned his 100th victory at Piedmont with a 3-2 win over Trinity Baptist College on October 8th in front of the home crowd.
As a player on the first-ever Piedmont College men’s soccer team, Stephens, along with 19 other members of the inaugural season, helped establish the storied tradition of men’s soccer at PC. He served as the team captain for three years and was also recognized as the Most Versatile Player by the coaching staff for his play on the field. In his final season suiting up for the Lions, Stephens helped lead his team as a senior captain to a 14-4-2 record and a share of the Georgia Athletic Conference championship.
After acquiring his undergraduate degree from PC, Stephens remained at his alma mater as an assistant coach for the 1995 and 1996 seasons under then head coach Jason Smith helping the team to a 25-11-1 record during that time. Both the ’95 and ’96 teams finished as the runner-up in the Georgia Athletic Conference, one of Piedmont’s conference affiliations during the NAIA era.
The PC alum then spent five seasons as the head men’s coach and three seasons as the head women’s coach at NAIA Emmanuel College in nearby Franklin Springs, GA starting the women’s program from scratch in 2002. In 2003, his men’s team received a bid to the NAIA Regional Tournament while tallying the program’s first winning record at 12-6.
Stephens also spent three seasons as the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Piedmont winning 26 games during that time frame. The Lady Lions had 10 All-Conference selections and 16 All-Academic honorees under Stephens who also produced seven All-Freshman award winners including the conference Freshman of the Year in 2006 (Katie Porter) who led the league in scoring, one of eight such players to do that on the men’s and women’s side combined for the veteran head coach.
A result of his dedication to the Piedmont athletic department over the last 20-plus years, Stephens was inducted into the Piedmont College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011 as a part of the 21st induction class of the prestigious club. Stephens is one of three men’s soccer inductees to the Hall, a group which also includes Stephens’ former coaching colleague in Stephen Andrew, former Piedmont’s Head Women’s Soccer Coach.
With his coaching experience spanning three different decades, Stephens holds a “B” License from the United States Soccer Federation and is also an active member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.