Class of 2013
It is my honor to introduce the undefeated Soccer teams of 1963 and 1964!
It was, as they say, the perfect storm. A fortuitous collision and blending of skills, talent, experience and coaching that gave rise to two Warren Wilson soccer teams, connected by common players, that didn't just beat their opponents, they dominated. These two teams over two years outscored, outgunned, out-ran the other guys by such a wide margin, it was hard to ignore them. Two teams that came out of a college smaller than most high schools and were invited to play for the National Junior College Athletic Association championship both years.
The soccer program at Warren Wilson during the 1950s knew good success, achieving winning seasons, but suffered relative anonymity by playing in a region where football and basketball reigned supreme. To rise above the din of these super-power sports was going to take something extra to get them noticed. And that something extra happened with the arrival of Sam Millar, a short, dynamic Irishman who grew up playing soccer from a very early age in the highly competitive atmosphere of Belfast. Winning was in his nature. Millar had been hired by Warren Wilson in 1957 to be the heating system engineer, and like most staff members who played two or more roles on campus, Millar was asked to help coach the sport he loved best. He quickly took a well-regarded program to the next level. Along with sociology professor William Klein, the team began to draw attention from the soccer community with outstanding play and convincing winning seasons. By the finish of the 1962 season, Millar and Klein had coached the Owls to a 55-5-6 record. This sound foundation of success won Warren Wilson an invitation to join the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Membership in this league led to a first-ever national ranking and even greater glory as the 1963 season opened. Forty eager players turned out for the initial meeting, three weeks before the opening match. Hard work, good team spirit, talent, and great coaching led the Owls to a 9-0 record and an invitation to participate in the national championship tournament against three junior college teams from the northeast. Sixteen players made the trip to New York where they took 3rd place, where they lost their only match of the season. During the regular schedule, opponents made only 11 goals; six games were shut-outs. It was a golden season, one that promised even more accolades in the following year.
Coach Millar said that the 1964 edition of the team looked good, but "the defense need[ed] some improvement." In response, the players stepped it up a notch as if to prove themselves to their beloved coach. The Owls turned in another stellar, undefeated season. The defense held their opponents to just 6 goals in 9 matches while the Owls booted in a record-setting 74 goals. They again traveled to participate in the national tournament, where they took 2nd place against a very tough Mitchell College of New Hampshire.
The Owls in 1963 & 1964 were blessed with outstanding, talented players such as Aydin Gonsulsen of Turkey who scored 26 goals, setting the school record for most goals in one season.
--Cyprian Ezike, co-captain for both years, won All-American honors for his consistent play, along with outstanding teammates Fuad Francis, Assaf Rahal, Gonulsen, Walid Raman, Marwen Jadeed, Craig Dunlop, and Edward Ben, described as "a quiet but deadly backfield player."
As Sam Millar always maintained, these excellent players could not have made their accomplishments by themselves. He said, "Without fine team work, cooperation, and a real team spirit, the records would not stand as they do."
For their back-to-back undefeated seasons,
For their spirited and dominating play,
We are proud to recognize the 1963 & 1964 Soccer teams as Teams of Excellence.