Emmitsburg, Md. (January 13, 2017) -- Mount St. Mary's University Director of Athletics Lynne Robinson has announced the hiring of Bryan Cunningham as head coach of the Mount St. Mary's men's soccer team as the program makes its return to campus. Cunningham becomes the sixth coach in program history, and will lead the Mountaineers into competition beginning with the fall 2018 season.
"We are thrilled to announce Bryan Cunningham as the new head men's soccer coach at Mount St. Mary's University," said Robinson. "Bryan's experience as a successful Division I coach perfectly positions him to lead our men's soccer program during this exciting time in program history. Throughout Bryan's coaching career, he has exhibited a commitment to student-athlete academic and athletic success: values that he will continue to embrace at Mount St. Mary's. We are very pleased to welcome Bryan and his family to the Mount community."
Cunningham takes over at the helm of the Mount after spending 10 seasons as head coach at University of Central Florida, where he developed one of the nation's elite men's soccer programs, leading the Knights to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in both 2010 and 2011.
"I would like to thank Dr. Trainor, Lynne Robinson, Kevin Robinson Jr., and the entire search committee for entrusting me to lead the men's soccer program into a new era," said Cunningham. "I am extremely humbled by this unique opportunity and I look forward to building a soccer program for all the Mount St. Mary's University community to be proud of. The Mount is a special place, and my family and I can't wait to begin the next chapter of our lives in such a great environment."
Through his nine seasons at UCF, Cunningham mentored and developed eight players that would go on to get drafted in the MLS SuperDraft, including three first-round selections in Romario Williams (2015/1st rd/3rd overall pick), Deshorn Brown (2013/1st rd/6th overall pick) and Hadji Barry (2016/1st rd/13th overall pick), in addition to current US National Team and NYFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson (2010/4th rd).
In his career, Cunningham has coached, mentored and developed a total of seven full National Team members, two conference players of the year, 32 all-conference players, 10 all-region members, two All-Americans and one Hermann Trophy finalist.
In 2011, Cunningham guided Central Florida to its best season in program history as the Knights spent nearly the entire year ranked among the top-25 in the nation, while moving as high as No. 6 in the polls. UCF defeated a pair of nationally-ranked opponents and opened the campaign unbeaten in its first seven games en route to a 12-win season. The Knights advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive season after defeating Florida Gulf Coast in overtime of the opening round.
At UCF, Cunningham guided the Knights to the national rankings in each year from 2010-13, and regional rankings in 2007, 2008 and from 2010-13. His squads also saw immense success off the field, garnering eight team academic awards throughout his tenure.
Before taking over the helm at UCF, Cunningham served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with the Knights. Cunningham's first recruiting class was ranked top-30 nationally by College Soccer News, and three of the players in that class went on to garner C-USA All-Conference honors. Following two seasons as an assistant, Cunningham was appointed interim head coach in 2007 before being formally named to the position a month later.
Prior to his time at Central Florida, Cunningham was an assistant coach on the University of South Carolina men's soccer staff, where he recruited several highly-touted players, including Brad Guzan, the current U.S. National Team starting goalie and former All-American and No. 2 pick in the MLS draft, Mike Sambursky, a 2007 MLS draftee of the Houston Dynamo and Makan Hislop, captain of the U-20 Trinidad and Tobago National Team.
In his two years with South Carolina, Cunningham helped lead the Gamecocks to 21 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth in his final season. USC held national rankings in each of Cunningham's two seasons with the program, and moved to high as No. 7 in the polls.
Cunningham also served as an assistant coach at Appalachian State for five seasons and his alma mater, Pfeiffer University, for one year prior to making the jump to South Carolina. At Appalachian State, Cunningham worked with eight All-South Region honorees, one SoCon Player of the Year, 13 All-SoCon selections and one College Soccer News Freshman All-American.
Cunningham's also been involved in the international realm, serving as a tactical advisor and training specialist for the Northern Ireland Under-18 National Schoolboys Team.
During his playing days, Cunningham was a four-year letterwinner and three-time team captain at Pfeiffer University. He led the Falcons to a pair of Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference Championships and helped guide the squad to a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Away from the field, Cunningham was a four-time Scholar Athlete and Dean's List honoree, and earned a bachelor's degree in communications.
A native of Allentown, Pa., Cunningham resides with his wife, Amy, and three children, Elyn (12), Alex (9) and Ryan (8).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT CUNNINGHAM
SCHELLAS HYNDMAN, Grand Canyon University Head Coach and former FC Dallas Head Coach
"I'd like to congratulate Bryan Cunningham on his appointment as head soccer coach at Mount St. Mary's University. Bryan is a proven winner with irrefutable integrity. He will work hard to bring a new level of success to the men's soccer program and he will also prove to be a valuable mentor to its student-athletes."
TJ KOSTECKY, LIU Brooklyn Head Coach
"I am delighted to hear that Bryan Cunningham was selected as the new head coach of the Mount. With his extensive background and success in building teams, I am certain that he will resurrect the program where they will be a competitive force in the Northeast Conference."