ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Darton State women's soccer coach Ken Veilands has resigned.
He tells WALB he will be re-entering the corporate world, accepting a job in pharmaceutical sales.
"It was a long, hard decision. But this is a financial and family decision." he told WALB Sports over the phone Thursday night. "It's gutwrenching. There were so many people involved in this program, and we received so much community support."
Veilands was appointed the head coach of the Albany State program that would begin play in 2017. He was going to coach the Lady Cavs in their final season of play this September.
He is the only coach the Lady Cavaliers' program has ever had. He was hired in 2000 to start the program, and in sixteen seasons, grew it into one of the top teams in junior college soccer. Veilands was named Region XVII Coach of the Year eight times, and NSCAA South Region Coach of the Year four times.
He led the Lady Cavs to eight region championships, including five straight between 2011-2015. In 2005, Darton State set national records with 25 consecutive wins and most wins in a season. Their only loss that season came in the NJCAA National Title Game.
Since 2005, Darton State spent 20 weeks as the top ranked team in junior college soccer. During Veilands' tenure, he coached 31 All-Americans and six Region XVII Player of the Year.
"Darton is all I know," he laughs. "When I started, I was given a bag of rubber soccer balls. We didn't have any equipment. We played our first games at the YMCA. But from the get go, it just worked and we just kept getting better. We built something here."
Assistant coach Alex Pickrell will take over as the interim coach. The Lady Cavaliers open the season September 9 when they host Gordon State.