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Former Clemson Soccer Players Are Now Coaches

Jan. 31, 2012

CLEMSON, SC – Former Clemson soccer players Wojtek Krakowiak and Jeff Bilyk have recently accepted positions in the coaching profession.

Wojtek Krakowiak was named Head Coach of the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team last month.

“After conducting a national search, we are pleased to announce that Coach Krakowiak will be moving from his interim role as head coach to the regular slot,” said Athletic Director Dr. Gary Gray. “He has worked hard as the interim, and the team’s record showed it last year. We are looking forward to meeting his first recruiting class in August. I am confident the student-athletes under his care will work hard not only in the classroom but also on the soccer field to return to the NCAA tournament next fall.”

In his first season at the helm of the program, MSUB went 11-3-4 overall and finished with an 8-2-4 mark in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference that included a 1-0 upset victory over 14th-ranked Seattle Pacific University on the road.

“First, I would like to thank Dr. Gary Gray, Dr. Stacy Klippenstein and the rest of the MSUB administration and staff for believing in my abilities and entrusting me with the leadership of this very well established women’s soccer program,” said Krakowiak.

Prior to his time with the Yellow jacket soccer program, Krakowiak served as the head coach at Division III institution Rutgers – Newark where he went 15-20-3 and guided them to their only post-season berth in the program’s brief ten-year history following the 2008 season. The Scarlet Raiders participated in the ECAC Metro Championship tournament.

During his collegiate playing career at Clemson, he was the 1998 Hermann Trophy recipient, which is the equivalent to football’s Heisman Trophy, and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player-of-the-Year after scoring 31 goals and securing eight assists while leading the Tigers to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Also, Appalachian State University announced the hiring of assistant coach Jeff Bilyk recently. Bilyk comes to Appalachian State having served as an assistant at Southern Conference rival Davidson and Director of Coaching for North Meck Soccer Club in Cornelius, N.C.

“When I began my search for an assistant coach, I was looking for a coach with a specific type of personality and understanding of the game,” commented Matt Nelson. “Jeff fits every criteria that I wanted to find.”

Bilyk’s collegiate soccer experience began at his alma mater, Clemson. The Bayport, N.Y. native played four seasons with the Tigers and earned all-ACC, all-South region and all-ACC Tournament honors after captaining his squad to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship during his senior year.

Bilyk went on to play for several teams in Major League Soccer (MLS) and United Soccer Leagues (USL), including the Miami Fusion, Milwaukee Rampage, Virginia Beach Mariners and Charlotte Eagles. In 2001, his Fusion team captured the MLS Supporters’ Shield as regular-season champions, while his ’02 Rampage squad was the USL A-League playoff champions.

“Joining the coaching staff at Appalachian is an honor,” explained Bilyk. “I feel that the coaching staff and players are building something special. I’m excited to get to work with the current group of guys to continue to build on the solid foundation that has been laid. It’s exciting to think of what the future has in store for myself and our program.”

“His success at the professional level, knowledge of the game, high-energy personality, ability to connect with players and his personal integrity and character make him an exceptional fit for Appalachian State University’s soccer program. I’m truly excited to have a coach of his caliber join our coaching staff,” said Nelson.