When it comes to the Greenville University Women’s Soccer Team, there is one name that stands out among the rest when people recall the success they’ve seen in the past. Jeff Wardlaw, better known by his past and current players as Coach Dubs, is the head coach of the women’s team and has been involved in the soccer programs here at GU for well over ten years now.
Wardlaw first made his way to Greenville College in 2005 as the first-ever Graduate Assistant for the college. After earning his master’s degree at GU, he left for a few months to then return as an Associate Head Coach for both the men and women soccer teams. Wardlaw has played many different roles within the soccer programs, but finally, in 2012 he was named Head Coach of the women’s soccer team and has held that title ever since.
Before Wardlaw found his way to Greenville, he earned a degree in Psychology from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky and originally went into being a director of a boys and girls home in Kansas City after graduation. He soon realized that wasn’t his true calling, and decided to apply himself to become a college soccer coach instead. Luckily for Wardlaw, after coaching some club soccer teams in his spare time in Australia, he came across an email stating that Greenville College was looking for a Graduate Assistant for their soccer team. He didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity, and when asked about how he knew it was the right choice for him, Wardlaw explained that it was purely a “God thing.”
Greenville has also had a huge impact on Wardlaw’s personal life, as this is where he was able to find his wife, Kristen, of ten years and counting. Wardlaw was actually the coach of her younger brother here at Greenville, which is coincidentally how they first met each other. He stated, “I met her and realized how beautiful she was and for some reason, she thought I was okay too, so I’ve been here ever since.” They now have two young sons together of ages 1 and 3, and according to Wardlaw, they are the biggest blessings he could have ever imagined. I asked him about how having kids has impacted his career as a coach, and Wardlaw shared that the minute he had his first son his priorities in life completely shifted apart to make room for a new number one.
Wardlaw believes that becoming a father is by far his greatest achievement, and with this has made him that much better of a coach as well because of how he views his own players. Wardlaw stated, “I would say that the fear of them (his sons) making good choices and becoming good young men in a really jacked up society has made my resolve even stronger for my players…and I think there is a correlation there.”
During his time here at Greenville, Wardlaw has helped the soccer programs appear in three NCAA national tournaments, two NCCAA national tournaments, and six conference tournament championship games. He has definitely proven his worth on the field as well. The Lady Panthers are currently 3-1 in conference play and are looking forward to another run at the SLIAC Championship Game quickly approaching. There are always going to be obstacles the team has to face in order to get there, but if one thing is certain, it’s that they have a very strong chance with a leader behind them like Coach Dubs.
To listen to the full interview with Coach Dubs and learn more about what makes him so great, listen below or visit the official Papyrus Soundcloud!