TTU starts track, elevates Awotula

photo Emmanuel Awotula, new head women's soccer coach and track coach at Tennessee Temple University.

Emmanuel Awotula is taking on two new responsibilities on the campus where he has been active in athletics since seventh grade.

Now 30, the former Tennessee Temple middle school , high school and university soccer player has been promoted to head coach of TTU women's soccer and the track team the school has decided to start.

Awotula has been a soccer assistant coach the last three years, the last two for Kenrick Liburd, who also heads men's soccer and women's basketball.

Liburd is delighted to give up one of his teams, and Awotula has head coaching experience with the Signal Mountain Storm club organization. A native of Nigeria, he lived briefly in Germany before coming to the United States, so his background includes a variety of soccer philosophies.

"His experience and vast knowledge of the game, and of the soccer community in Tennessee and the surrounding states, is an invaluable asset to the program here at TTU," Liburd said on the school's website. He's currently in his native England.

"Most of our players we recruited together," Awotula said, "and there will not be a whole lot of changes from what he did and what I'm going to be doing. The only difference in style is that I like more physical, aggressive play."

The outdoor track program developed from interest expressed by current TTU students, he said, and the administration saw it as a way to attract more and to keep up with other colleges in the region that recently have started or decided to start track. Some of the distance runners also would take part in cross country, but Awotula won't be coaching that fall sport with his soccer team in season.

He's already been getting the word out to area coaches about the new Temple sport.

"In any sport you want to recruit your local area. That brings in more fans, for one thing," said Awotula, who was a sprinter, long jumper and shot putter in one season of high school track.