(Eric) Kwame Appiah
(Eric) Kwame Appiah joined the Bryan College Athletics staff as the Head Coach of the women's soccer program beginning in May 2018, marking just the fourth Head Women's Soccer Coach since women's soccer became an NAIA sport at Bryan in the fall of 1997.
Appiah is returning to the 2019 season in his second year at the helm of the women's soccer program. Last season, the Lions finished regular-season play 7-9-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, which was good enough for 6th-place heading into the conference tournament. The squad's campaign came to a close during the opening round, but the group didn't leave without two Lions garnering All-AAC honors and seven making the All-Academic Team. The total number of All-Academic members tied Bryan for the 3rd-most of any other conference school. Their efforts in the classroom also resulted in three being named 2018 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes and the team receiving recognition as an NAIA Scholar-Team.
Appiah, a native of Asamankese, Ghana came to Bryan after spending five years as an assistant coach for neighboring NCAA Div. II Lee University's men's soccer program.
His experience on the professional, collegiate, and international stage has only added to the already top-ranked Lady Lions. In addition to playing professionally in Ghana, he took his talents to Mount Vernon, Ohio where he competed for current NAIA and Crossroads League member Mount Vernon Nazarene University, earning numerous accolades competing as a standout center-back for the Cougars. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree from Mount Vernon in Exercise Science before going to Tiffin, Ohio and applying himself both on the field as a graduate assistant and in the classroom, giving way to a Masters of Arts in Education from Heidelberg University.
While on the pitch for Mount Vernon, Appiah anchored a defense that posted 15 shutouts in 2009 en route to the NCCAA national tournament, where he received All-Tournament team honors. The following year, the Cougars battled their way to an overall record of 17-7-2 and 11 shutouts. During his senior year, Appiah served the squad as a co-captain and helped maintain great leadership both on and off the field of play.
His strong knowledge of the game, good administrative skills, maturity, and work ethic were noticed by the Lee University staff, which led to him being hired on as an assistant coach for the Flames. Just as Appiah said prior to becoming a Flame, "I'm going to bring everything I can to help make this program a national power," he followed through as Appiah helped lead Lee to the program's first-ever national title in 2014, capturing the NCCAA Div. I National Championship.
Appiah also holds a National Diploma from the NSCAA and a USSF D License. His expertise in recruiting, scouting, and training combined with his strong faith that helped Lee go the right direction and attain many triumphs will help Bryan in their continued success as they've become a dominating force in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. "I am blessed to have this opportunity to invest in the Women's Soccer program as we work together to achieve the mission of Bryan College 'Educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today's world,' remarked Appiah. "Honoring God with our very best in all that we do is paramount to my coaching philosophy."
"I am very ecstatic to be a part of the Bryan College family as the Head Women's Soccer Coach," said Appiah. "I am strongly aware of the rich tradition of the college, the athletic department, and the women's soccer program. The combination of Christian values, a competitive environment, and a commitment to excellence and to developing student-athletes to be their absolute best both on and off the field makes Bryan College a very unique place."
Former Bryan College women's soccer standout, Polly Holt, joins the staff in her first year as an assistant coach for the 2019 season.
Holt was a four-year starter at the center-back position before graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.
Her exceptional leadership and defensive tenacity made Holt a highly respected competitor on the pitch. She used her speed and intelligence on the playing field to out-position any offensive threat presented by the opposing team, as she played a major role in Bryan’s defensive success while holding down the Lions’ back line.
As an upperclassman, Holt oversaw the Lions to tremendous success, beginning during her junior campaign where the squad went 10-10-2 overall and an even 5-5 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. This marked the winningest season in recorded history for the program. Bryan battled their way to AAC Tournament Runner-Up, which was an improvement to the previous year that saw the Lions go 5-9-4 overall and 2-4-4 in conference play.
Holt made the most of her senior year when she and her teammates carried the momentum into another record-breaking display. They created a new winningest record at 12-7 overall and 9-2 conference record, giving way to the Lions’ first-ever AAC Regular-Season Championship and first-ever trip to the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Tournament Opening Round. At the end of her senior season, the Lions received votes in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Top-25 Poll, marking the first time since 2010 that the team had received national recognition in a poll.
Her efforts her senior year earned her All-Conference First Team honors while she also picked up weekly recognition from the AAC as an AAC Defensive Player of the Week. Her one-time weekly award came after she aided the Lions in a shutout during their conference opener where she helped Bryan women’s soccer set a record for most goals in a single game in recorded history (9) and the largest margin of victory (9) after tallying her first career goal and assist. Her defensive prowess led the back line in allowing just three total shots to the opposing team in the record-breaking victory.
Holt excelled in the classroom and was awarded the E.B. Arnold Student Teacher Award, presented to an outstanding student in the Bryan Education Department. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Bryan through the Bryan Difference Maker Program.
“I’m excited to be back on the hill and help serve on staff for a program that is very near to my heart,” said Holt. “It was amazing to be part of the remarkable growth experienced by the women’s soccer program during my playing career, and now to be able to support and help continue the development of the team as a coach is such an amazing opportunity, and I’m looking forward to what this year has in store for us.”