FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: November 1, 2001
Contact: Paul MacDonna
SPRINGFIELD - Joe Eck, assistant Prairie Stars men’s soccer coach for the past 22 years, has been named the new men’s head soccer coach effective the end of this soccer season. Eck will replace Aydin Gonulsen, who was the first athletic director and head soccer coach at the university. The announcement was released this afternoon.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be the next head coach at UIS,” said Eck. “I want to thank Chancellor Ringeisen and the administration for giving me the opportunity to lead this program, which is one of the premier soccer programs in the nation at any division.”
“I want to thank Aydin Gonulsen for the past 22 years,” continued Eck. “He brought me in at the early stages and we worked hard to build this program into a national contender. Gonulsen’s drive, leadership and coaching abilities are second to none. I do not intend to replace what he has done because he (Gonulsen) will always be a part of the program, but plan to continue to build upon the tradition and standards that we have set.”
“I am extremely pleased that the university accepted my recommendation,” said outgoing coach Aydin Gonulsen. “I hope that the university and Springfield community can extend the same support to him as they have to me over the past 25 years. If so, Joe can be nothing but successful.”
Eck grew up in Springfield and was one of the first soccer players from the area to play at the intercollegiate level. He graduated from Griffin High School in 1973, graduated from Springfield College in Illinois in 1975, and attended Warren Wilson College, graduating in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He received his Master’s Degree in environmental studies from UIS in 1995. While playing at Warren Wilson College for then Head Coach Hank Steinbrecher, Eck was named team captain and a First Team All-American in 1977.
In 1978, Eck was named the head soccer coach at Lincoln Land Community College. In the fall of 1979, Eck was hired as assistant soccer coach at Sangamon State University.
Eck holds two coaching licenses, including the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Coaching Diploma and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “B” Coaching license. He has been involved with the Olympic Development Program in Illinois and various competitive teams within the Springfield Area Soccer Association over the past 20 years.