BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Chris Tinius has been promoted to associate head coach and former men's soccer player Dustin Downey has been named an assistant coach of the WKU Soccer program, head coach Jason Neidell announced on Thursday.
"I am excited about the changes to our coaching staff," said Neidell. "Chris' promotion is a well-deserved honor after five invaluable seasons of service to our soccer program. I am grateful for his loyalty, passion, and commitment. I am glad that we are able to recognize his contributions in this manner."
Tinius, entering his sixth year with the program in 2012, has been a member of the coaching staff during the most successful time in WKU soccer history. During the last five years, the program has won 70.6 percent of its games, the best mark in the Sun Belt Conference among active members. The program's 65 wins during the same time span are the second most among active members of the league. The team has not lost a postseason game since 2008 and has reached the championship of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in two of the last four seasons.
"I am extremely excited to continue moving forward with the WKU soccer program as associate head coach,"
said Tinius. "I am very grateful for the show of appreciation and trust from Jason and the administration. More importantly, I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given up to this point and all I have learned over the last several years. I look forward to continuing to grow as a coach and continuing to help grow soccer at WKU and in the Bowling Green community."
Downey, a former Hilltopper men's soccer player, has an extensive playing history as well as coaching experience at the club and high school level.
"We are fortunate to bring an individual of Dustin's pedigree and work ethic to our staff," said Neidell. "Dustin brings an incredible energy that will surely be contagious within the team. I know that he is excited to be back on the Hill."
Downey is a 2010 graduate of Western Kentucky University.
"I am excited to be back on the WKU campus and have the opportunity to begin my collegiate coaching career in Bowling Green," said Downey. "As a WKU graduate, it means a great deal to me to have the chance to return to this campus and join Coach Neidell's coaching staff. I look forward to taking what I have learned over the years as a player and applying it to this new path in coaching."
"I appreciate Athletic Director Todd Stewart's vision for our athletic department," said Neidell. "It is through his support that these positive steps for our program have become possible."
In all, the current staff of Neidell, Tinius, Downey and volunteer assistant coach Will Beddingfield have 26 years of coaching or playing experience on the Western Kentucky University campus as the 2012 season begins.
Tinius, a Bowling Green native, played on the WKU men's soccer team from 1999-2002. Prior to joining the Hilltoppers as a player, he helped lead the Bowling Green High School soccer team to two state runner-up finishes. Hilltopper red runs deep with the Tinius family - Chris is one of six family members to play sports as a Hilltopper. His mother, Katy, is in the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame for tennis; his father, Joe, ran track and cross country and was a member of the national runner-up cross country team; his uncle, Jim, played and coached football; his sister, Kelly, was on the inaugural women's soccer team at WKU; and his brother, Casey, played on the Hilltopper football team.
Prior to joining the WKU coaching staff in March 2007, Tinius had coaching stints at Troy (2005) and Georgia Southern (2006). At Troy as an assistant coach, he helped the squad qualify for its first-ever conference tournament berth in school history. At Georgia Southern, Tinius was responsible for recruiting, monitoring academics and on-field coaching. He helped the Eagles more than double their win total from 2005 and qualify for the conference tournament for the first time since 2002. GSU upset No. 2 seed Davidson in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament, advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 2001.
Tinius holds a USSF National "C" License, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Diploma and NSCAA Regional Goalkeeping Diploma.
Tinius earned his bachelor's degree in broadcasting from WKU in 2003 before completing his master's in sport and fitness management at Troy in December, 2006.
Downey most recently played for the River City Rovers (Louisville, Kentucky) of the Premier Development League, a team that qualified for the U.S. Open Cup. His efforts with the team helped earn him a professional tryout in Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2012. His most recent coaching appointments included work with the Lexington Football Club (Lexington, Kentucky) and East Jessamine High School (Nicholasville, Ky.). He has also been a constant around Neidell's Hilltopper Soccer Academy at WKU in recent years.
Downey played three years for the WKU Men's Soccer program from 2005-2007, including earning honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a sophomore and preseason All-Conference honors as a junior. He scored six career goals while playing from the midfield. Following his three seasons with WKU, Downey played one year at Northern Kentucky University in 2008. The Norse finished 16-3-4 on the season and reached the NCAA Division II National Semifinals.
Downey enjoyed a successful prep career at Owen County High (Ky.) where he was a three time all-state selection. He notched 41 goals and 51 assists during his high school career, helping earn him NSCAA/adidas All-America honors in 2003. He was also a 2004 NSCAA/adidas High School Scholar All-American. He also had great success in the club ranks, playing for Javanon 86/87 in Louisville where he was a member of the 2006 national championship squad in the under-19 division.
Downey graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2010 with a B.A. in broadcast communications and television production. He double minored in film study and English creative writing.
WKU will take the field for a pair of exhibition matches at Tennessee-Martin (Aug. 10) and Memphis (Aug. 12) before returning home for their regular season opener on Aug. 17 against Evansville at 6:00pm at the WKU Soccer Complex in Bowling Green, Ky.
For complete coverage of WKU Soccer, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.