Babba named new women’s football head coach

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Paul Babba has been hired as head coach of the Bellarmine University women’s soccer team, athletic director Scott Wiegandt announced Tuesday.

Babba becomes the sixth head coach in the history of the program. He comes to Bellarmine after serving two seasons as an assistant coach / recruiting coordinator at the University of Kentucky, where he has also served as interim head coach for the last three games of the campaign. fall 2021.

“We are extremely pleased with the number of qualified candidates that the search for our next Head Women’s Football Coach has yielded,” said Wiegandt. “Paul rose to the top of this impressive pool of candidates. We are excited that he is starting and look forward to using his recruiting and head coaching experience to continue to advance our women’s soccer program. Paul has coached at virtually all levels of college football and understands what it takes to run a successful program. “

Babba helped guide Kentucky to a place in the SEC tournament in 2020. During his tenure as interim head coach in 2021, he led the Wildcats to a 2-0 victory over SEC rival Missouri. . Jordyn Rhodes won the All-SEC and All-Southeast Region accolades in Babba’s two seasons in the UK, while Maria Olsen was selected to the SEC All-Freshman squad in 2020.

Prior to Kentucky, Babba worked for two years as an associate head coach / recruiting coordinator at Division I Elon University, where he helped organize a notable turnaround at the North Carolina-based school. After going 3-10-4 overall and 1-7-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2018, the Phoenix recorded an improvement of nine wins in 2019, amassing an overall score of 12-6-2 which included a 5 -3-1 record in CAA game and very first place in conference tournament. The program has won four All-CAA and two All-Freshman Team awards in its two seasons.

During his previous stop before Elon, Babba’s ability to help orchestrate a turnaround became evident. He was head coach for two seasons at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, and led the NAIA program to unprecedented success. In 2016, Babba guided the Lions to second place in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament as a seven seed. He turned that late-season momentum into a historic 2017, as the Lions won their first-ever AAC regular season championship and place in the NAIA National Tournament while posting the most victorious season of the year. program history at 12-7 in total and 9-2 in conference play.

For his efforts, Babba was recognized as the 2017 AAC Coach of the Year. Under his tutelage that season, the Lions were also recognized by the AAC for Offensive Player of the Year (Ruth Rosales), Defensive Player of the Year (Morgana Hardt da Silva) and First-Year Student. year of the year (Makena Giles). In his two seasons, the Lions racked up nine All-AAC and 13 All-Academic Team accolades.

Babba’s first post as a college head coach came at Delta State University, a Division II program in Cleveland, Mississippi, which he led for five seasons from 2011 to 2015. Prior to that, he did his entry into the varsity coaching ranks as an assistant at Mississippi College, a Division III program at the time that he helped achieve an overall record of 53-20-5 and a score of 38-11 -3 in action from the American Southwest Conference over four seasons. from 2007-10. The Choctaws have won 21 All-ASC accolades over her four years, and Carrie Kirk was the 2009 CSA Defensive Player of the Year.

“I am very touched and grateful to have been chosen as the next women’s football coach at Bellarmine University,” Babba said. “It’s an exciting time to be a Knight of Bellarmine, and I look forward to leading this program into the next chapter and harnessing the incredible potential of Bellarmine Soccer. I would like to thank (President of Bellarmine) Dr (Susan M.) Donovan and Scott Wiegandt for having trusted me and my vision for this program.

“I would also like to thank (Deputy Director of Sports / Senior Female Administrator) Pam stackhouse and the whole search committee. They painted a very clear picture of how inclusive and people-oriented the environment is within the sports department, and the overall excellence with which the university as a whole operates. “

In addition to his college ledger, Babba has extensive experience as a club football coach and is currently Technical Director of Commonwealth SC. He was assistant coach of Mississippi Brilla FC at USL for two summers (2013-15). Babba was the coaching director at the Brandon Futbol Club (2007-08) and Cleveland, Mississippi Youth Soccer Association (2013-15) and also spent time coaching Mississippi Brilla FC Juniors (2008-10) and Chattanooga. FC (2016-18).

Babba played collegially from 2003-2006 at Belhaven University, where he was a team captain his last two seasons and is third all-time in school for points (92) and is tied for third in goals (37). After college, he played two summers for Mississippi Brilla FC.

Babba received a bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Belhaven and a master’s degree in sports administration from Mississippi College. He holds a senior national ‘A’ license from the USSF, which is the highest qualification for coaches at the university level.

Originally from Jos, Nigeria, Babba has a wife, Laura, and three children: Noah, Micah and Hannah.

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