* 2005 OVC Coach of the
* 2003 OVC Coach
of the Year
In only five years at
the helm of the Samford University soccer team, head coach Todd
Yelton has propelled the Bulldogs to national prominence. The
winningest coach in Samford soccer history, he has led his team to
four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships and an NCAA
Tournament appearance. In 2005, Yelton's squad advanced past
19th-ranked Vanderbilt in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament
and became the first OVC team to reach the second round.
During the 2005
campaign, Yelton helped Samford to a school-record 15-4-4 overall
mark and a 7-2 conference record. He was named the OVC Coach of the
Year, his second such honor in four years.
Last season, Yelton's
Bulldogs registered the first undefeated conference record in
school history and finished the year with an 11-4-3 overall mark.
With the team's 6-0-3 OVC record, Samford earned its fourth
straight regular-season conference title.
"Todd has built a
special program for Samford soccer in a short time," said Director
of Athletics Bob Roller. "He attracts outstanding student-athletes
who see how successful our soccer program has become. We attract
huge student crowds because they play an exciting brand of winning
soccer. It's our hope that Todd can lead this program for many
years to come."
Since joining the OVC in
2003, the Bulldogs have compiled a 27-4-3 conference record and
have reached the championship match of the OVC Tournament three
times. Yelton was named the OVC Coach of the Year in 2003 and led
Samford to its initial Soccer Buzz magazine Southeast Regional
ranking before the 2004 season.
One of the nation's top
women's soccer coaches, Yelton holds a remarkable 61-26-14 overall
record in five seasons at Samford. He became the school's all-time
winningest coach during the 2005 campaign. On Sept. 9, 2005, he
picked up the groundbreaking victory with a 1-0 win on the road
against North Carolina State. The triumph helped Yelton surpass
former coach Barry Spitzer and also was the Bulldogs' first victory
against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
A native of Piney Flats,
Tenn., Yelton began a youth-based resurgence in the soccer program
by bringing in 10 freshmen in 2002. The 2003 roster featured six
freshmen and was named the 19th best recruiting class in the
Southeast by Soccer Buzz, the first Samford freshman class to be
recognized in that fashion.
In 2004, he continued
the trend by bringing in eight new players. Yelton's 2004 freshman
class was named the 14th best recruiting class in the Southeast by
Soccer Buzz and was ranked 79th in the nation.
All four of Samford's
most recent recruiting classes have been ranked among the top-100
teams in the nation. Last season, Soccer Buzz Magazine tabbed the
Bulldogs' 2006 recruits as the No. 85-ranked squad in the nation,
while Samford's previous two classes came in at No. 91 and No. 79,
Samford's highly touted
2005 recruiting class consisted of seven talented prep stars and
was ranked 16th in the Southeast and 91st in the nation. The
Bulldogs' 2007 recruiting class continued Samford's national
prowess as the team's eight-player incoming freshman class was
ranked No. 68 in the nation by Soccer Buzz Magazine.
In five seasons under
Yelton, Samford has posted 61 wins, nearly two-thirds of the
program's 99 all-time victories. Since becoming head coach in 2002,
Yelton's Bulldogs have knocked off Southeastern Conference
opponents Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, Conference USA foes
Memphis and Southern Miss, as well as ACC powerhouse North Carolina
State. Yelton's Bulldogs have only lost one overtime match, posting
an 8-1-14 mark in extra sessions.
Under Yelton, Samford
had a school-record eight players earn berths on OVC All-Conference
teams in 2003. Kim Matthews was named the 2003 OVC Freshman of the
Year. Goalkeeper Crystal Royall set six school records, earning
Soccer Buzz third-team All-Southeast Region honors. Six team
records were set during 2003, including marks for shutouts in a
season (13) and team goals-against average (0.66). Also, 15
individual records were either set or tied in 2003.
After winning a second
straight OVC regular-season title in 2004, Samford had six players
earn All-OVC honors, with four Bulldogs receiving first-team
accolades and two players notching second-team awards. Senior
goalkeeper Royall highlighted the list of Samford's accomplishments
when she became the first player in conference history to be named
both OVC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. In
eight league matches, Royall earned five shutouts and tallied a 7-1
record as a starter.
Honors continued to roll
in for the Bulldogs during the 2005 campaign. Rebecca Bohler,
Heather Birdsell and Cayley Winters were awarded Soccer Buzz
Southeast Regional honors, and seven players earned All-OVC
accolades. Bohler, a sophomore forward on Samford's record-breaking
team, was named the 2005 OVC Player of the Year and was the second
straight Bulldog to earn the award.
Samford's domination of
the OVC's postseason honors continued in 2006 as the Bulldogs
finished with five players earning all-conference accolades. Senior
Sharon Young received Player of the Year honors, while Amber Cress
was named Freshman of the Year and Paige Lanter earned all-newcomer
honors. Junior Heather Birdsell was named to the conference's
First-Team, while Bohler received Second-Team accolades.
Yelton was hired as
Samford's second women's soccer coach Jan. 11, 2002. He succeeded
Spitzer, who started Samford's soccer program in 1997. Yelton
immediately helped the Bulldogs become contenders in the Atlantic
Sun Conference. Under his guidance, Samford won its first eight
matches of the 2002 season and opened the campaign with an
impressive school-record 9-0-1 start.
Yelton served as the top
assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham during
2000-01, where he helped turn around a Blazer team that went 3-14-2
in 2000. In 2001, UAB posted an 11-9 record, including a 7-3
Conference USA mark.
Before coaching at UAB,
Yelton served four years as head coach at Parkview High School in
Atlanta, Ga. During that time, his teams posted a 59-11-3 overall
mark, and captured 4A state championships in both 1997 and 1999.
His teams received national rankings in the National Soccer Coaches
Association of America [NSCAA] poll three of his four
collegiate head coaching position was at Oglethorpe University in
Atlanta, Ga., where he coached for four seasons, posting a 40-32-4
In addition to his
collegiate coaching experience, Yelton recently was named to the
Region III Olympic Developmental Program staff. His playing career
began when he was a freshman at Tennessee Tech University. He then
transferred to King College (Tenn.), where he was a two-year
starter on defense. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from
King College in 1991.
Yelton and his wife,
Shauna, have a daughter, MacKenzie, 10, and a son, Colin,