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Soccer: Abouzar promoted to head coach of Pioneers

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Staff report

As just the second head soccer coach in TWU’s history, Babak Abouzar was promoted from assistant to replace the first, Fleur Benatar, who recently resigned to spend more time with her family.

Abouzar spent one season under Benatar as an assistant, helping the Pioneers make a drastic improvement from the previous season, when they went from recording only one conference win, to a 6-7-1 record in the Lone Star Conference and 7-10-2 overall this past season.

“When we brought Babak in as the assistant last year, we knew we had a great recruiter and a passionate young coach who embraced Division II, where academics and athletics are in balance,” TWU Athletic Director Chalese Connors said. “When Fleur decided to leave collegiate coaching to spend more time with her family, I knew Babak was a great candidate to take over. Sure enough, after our search, he emerged on top and I am very excited to see what he will do as our new leader. I know the student-athletes are also happy that he’s been named the head coach.”

Abouzar will officially take his post as head coach effective Aug. 1, and the search for his assistant coach is under way.

Along with the Pioneers advancing to the LSC tournament this past season for the fourth time in school history, Abouzar will carry last year’s success and cohesion into a team that lost nine seniors, including senior Brittany Martin, who led the Pioneers with 10 goals last season.

With academics just as much as a priority as athletics at TWU, Abouzar also helped the team set a new team grade-point average high with a 3.566 that included six 4.0s in the fall. In the spring, it had a 3.408 team GPA with five earning 4.0.

“I would like to thank Chalese Connors for this opportunity to lead the TWU soccer program,” Abouzar said. “It’s exciting to build off the foundation Fleur has laid down for this program. I look forward to elevating our student-athletes to become remarkable contributors on the field and most of all to the society.”

Before Abouzar got in the coaching game, he played two years at Lipscomb University as a defender and earned Atlantic Sun All-Academic honors.

He was also an NJCAA All-American at Richland College in Dallas and part of an NJCAA national championship. Abouzar also holds a USSF National “D” license and a NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Regional Goalkeeper diploma.

Before coming to TWU, Abouzar spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Lubbock Christian University. He pushed the Lady Chaps to a 14-18-4 record and two straight Sooner Athletic Conference tournament appearances as the first coach in Lubbock Christian’s history.

Prior to LCU, Abouzar served as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. There, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2008 and his MBA in 2009.