The University of the Cumberlands (UC) takes great pride and tradition in its athletics programs. The men's soccer program is no different. In the last five years, the Patriots have gone a combined 69-25-9 overall with two NAIA Regional appearances and three NAIA Top 25 finishes. The program has built a name for itself and now the reins have been handed off to its newest Head Coach, Brenton Benware.
Benware was the Head Coach at Montreat College for the last three years. While at Montreat, Benware coached his teams to an overall record of 31-21-2. He also coached two NAIA All-American, 11 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) selections, a two-time AAC Player of the Year, and 2 AAC Freshmen of the Year. He also had his Montreat Cavaliers as highly ranked as #11 in the NAIA during his coaching tenure. In 2009, Benware coached the Cavaliers to a victory over the #1 seed Milligan College in the AAC Tournament, but came just short of a NAIA Tournament berth as they lost to Bryan College in overtime 2-1.
Benware played for Oklahoma Wesleyan University during his college years. During that time, he was a 4-year varsity starter, a 3-time MCAC All-Conference Team member, a 2-Time All-Region Team member, and a NCCAA All-American in 2001. He graduated from OWU with a Bachelor's in Business Administration in 2002. Benware then went on to receive his Master's in Christian Leadership from Liberty University in 2010.
Brenton is married to his wife of 6 years, Kelly, and has one daughter, Riley.
Craig Cook is entering his 3rd season as Graduate Assistant for the University of the Cumberlands men's soccer team after being a four-year veteran of the Patriot squad.
Cook, a native of Knoxville, TN, graduated from University of the Cumberlands in the spring of 2010 with Bachelors in Sports Management. He received the NAIA Academic All-Conference and Mid-South Conference Honorable Mention awards in his time playing for the Patriots, and also was named Captain of the team in his senior year.
Cook also coaches the Reserve team for UC. He commented, "The best game as a coach would have to be the Reserves game at Lindsey Wilson in 2010. The team played the game plan to the letter. We made a switch a half time and got a goal in the 2nd half to defeat them 1-0."
When asked about coaching, Cook stated, "I love being on the pitch helping sculpt a team into an identity. It is the mingling of your talents and the players to create a life form that is the team. The team has all its own movable parts, the individual parts know what to do, but they need the coach to show them all how to move together as a unit. We have a great soccer program that plays at a high level. We continue to grow and now we are consistently recognized as a top 25 program."
Cook's advice to athletes is to put in the extra hours after practice on your own time. This is important because when you are by yourself you can cut loose and just have fun training what you want to train. It is the best feeling ever to master a technique on your own just for the sheer joy of doing it.
Craig is married to his wife Janelle, and has two sons, Ezra and Cade.
Chris Ulmer is entering his 2nd season as the Graduate Assistant for the Men's Soccer Patriots. Ulmer is a graduate of Penn State University and hails from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Penn State in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications.
Ulmer was a walk on at Penn State Abington as a freshman, but worked his way into a starting role as a striker that season. He was named the captain of the Penn State Abington men's soccer team in just his sophomore year. After two years, he transferred to Penn State University where he graduated. Although Ulmer is a soccer player, he has also been successful in other athletic endeavors. Ulmer has completed numerous marathons, including a 50-mile marathon. He was also a feature in a film documentary where he attempted to run from State College, Pennsylvania to Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, a 200 mile run.
When asked about coaching at UC, Ulmer commented, "I believe the men's soccer team has an excellent chance at success. With the combination of the talented players we have coming in and an excellent coaching staff with Coach Benware and Coach Cook, we have a chance to go very far this year."
Ulmer added, "The best thing about being a coach is the opportunity to serve as a role model for college students. I believe physical fitness is something that can change the life and perspective of a person. With the competition experienced playing at UC, I am excited to see the players in the program grow as people. If you want to get better you will. Stay dedicated and train hard. Visualize where you want to be then make a plan to get there."
Joe Adams is entering his 1st season as an Assistant Coach for the University of the Cumberlands Men’s Soccer Program.
Adams, a native of Somerset, KY, was graduated from Lindsey Wilson College with a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries. During his time at Lindsey Wilson, he was a part of the 2009 NAIA National Championship team before going overseas to play for the A.S Laranja squad in Kyoto, Japan. Adams also was an assistant coach for one season in 2011 at Lindsey Wilson College where they went 22-0 and won the 2011 NAIA National Championship.
When asked about joining the staff at UC, Adams commented, “I think that the University of the Cumberlands is a beautiful campus with a very strong history. I am looking forward to learning more about the program and working hard to see the team’s future success on and off the field. I’m thankful to the people at UC for giving me the opportunity to continue coaching at a great school while I work towards my Masters Degree.”
Adams’ advice to athletes is to give your all at all times. He quoted, “You get out of it what you put into it.” Although coaching creates crazy work hours, Adams said it is a pleasure to be around the game you love forever.
Joe is married to his wife Naoko and currently resides in Somerset.