Bill Elliott is taking on a new role as technical director of the Chattanooga Football Club, but the three-time National Premier Soccer League coach of the year is still working to make sure the team puts a championship-worthy lineup on the field.
As CFC's head coach the past eight seasons, Elliott compiled a 91-31-26 record and helped put the Scenic City on the soccer map, leading the team to seven conference titles, three region championships and the Hank Steinbrecher Cup, a U.S. amateur national championship.
As CFC prepares to begin competition as a professional team next spring in the inaugural season of the National Independent Soccer Association, Elliott's task will be to steer the direction of the entire club where soccer is concerned and do so from beyond the sideline.
The club announced Wednesday that Elliott will take charge of player recruitment, scouting and season planning. Peter Fuller, CFC's associate head coach this past season, will take over the coaching duties. Both moves are effective immediately.
"I feel really blessed to be involved and help CFC grow in the community where I grew up," said Elliott, who was also the team's general manager in 2019. "With my network along with Peter's and our new general manager Jeremy (Alumbaugh), we can cast a bigger net to help form a very talented squad.
"To see the progress the club has made from the beginning to giving (Spanish club) Real Betis a tough match this past season, the level of play has really progressed here in Chattanooga. The way the fan base and footprint of the club has grown has been incredible to be a part of."
While Elliott will no longer be at every home match, his new role will allow his family to not have to relocate from Florida, where he has been for the past 25 years.
He began his tenure at the University of West Florida in 1995 as head coach for men's and women's soccer. He is still in charge of the men's team, which has been a Gulf South Conference powerhouse with a record of 284-125-45 in his time, but the Argonauts play in the fall and CFC's schedule now stretches much later than in previous years.
"I am excited to remain involved with the club," Elliott said. "I loved coaching and being on the sideline, but to relocate with my family during the transition year for the club would have been a really difficult move for my family. I am very grateful for the board and Tim Kelly for giving me the opportunity to be the technical director, which is an adviser to the soccer side of things."
The NISA has 14 teams lined up to compete, with the New York Cosmos the most recent to join. With the season lasting from February until November, the club will count on Alumbaugh for his expertise after working since 2014 in the front office for St. Louis FC, which competes in the United Soccer League Championship.
CFC, which will now be dealing with professional player contracts, agents and travel visas, is already working on player deals and will hold mini-camps in January to make final decisions on the roster. Fuller is excited.
"Chattanooga FC is a unique club, and I was blown away by my experience here in 2019," Fuller said. "I have never been a part of such an incredible union between team and community. I look forward to being able to impart that spirit into the new players and continuing to produce quality results on the field. We have some steep competition ahead, but we are ready for the challenge."