Siloam Springs is turning to familiar faces to lead its soccer programs next season.
Former assistant coach and current Greenwood boys coach Luke Shoemaker was hired to lead the Siloam Springs boys and former Lady Panther and current assistant coach Abby Ray was tabbed for the girls job in a special school board meeting on Thursday.
The head soccer coach position had been held by Brent Crenshaw for the previous three seasons before he resigned in mid-June to take the head boys soccer coach position in Fayetteville. Crenshaw was 53-19-4 as boys coach and 59-14-3 as girls coach, for a combined mark of 112-33-7.
A native of Grove, Okla., and a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Shoemaker was originally hired by the Siloam Springs School District in 2012 and joined the soccer staff as an assistant coach in 2014. He was a part of four straight girls state championships in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and back-to-back boys state championships in 2016 and 2017.
The Panthers were 59-26-3 with Shoemaker as an assistant, while the Lady Panthers were 65-25-1, for a combined mark of 124-51-4.
Shoemaker resigned last summer to take the head boys job at Greenwood High School. This past season, the Bulldogs went 5-18 under Shoemaker but had a late season surge where they defeated El Dorado 2-1 to clinch a 6A state tournament berth. Greenwood defeated Marion 2-1 in double overtime in the opening round of the state tournament.
"My entire adult life has been lived in Northwest Arkansas," Shoemaker said. "I went to college here, student taught at SSHS, and worked here for five years. When I had the opportunity to become a head coach somewhere I jumped at the chance for that experience. In my heart I think I always knew that God would bring me back here. I enjoyed my time at GHS, but this is home and I am so excited to be back in maroon and gray. This program has done so much and it's an honor to be chosen to lead it."
Ray, a 2007 Siloam Springs graduate, also joined the soccer staff in 2014 and has been a part of five straight state championship teams and two boys titles.
Ray has also won four straight state titles as a member of the Siloam Springs girls cross country coaching staff.
Ray was an all-state midfielder for the Lady Panthers from 2004-2007 before playing four years at Central Arkansas Baptist College in Conway.
The Lady Panthers are 87-28-3 with Ray on staff, while the Panthers are 75-34-6, for a combined record of 162-62-9.
"This is my dream job," Ray said. "I've been with this program for 5 years and am ready for the opportunity to be the head coach. I love this team and I'm ready to lead them. There's no place I'd rather be or team I'd rather coach. I bleed maroon and gray and am so blessed to be able to do the job I love in the district that I grew up in."
It's the first time the Siloam Springs soccer head coaching job has been divided up. Jason Bowen was head coach of both teams through the 2014 season, followed by Chuck Jones and Crenshaw.
Overall, the program has won nine state titles combined in boys and girls soccer.Sports on 07/01/2018
Print Headline: Shoemaker, Ray to lead soccer teams