Having assisted South Alabama to five championships in three seasons, Keyton Wheelock was named head coach of the ULM soccer program in January, 2016.
“First I would like to thank Graham Winkworth, Dr. Erdmann, and the Administration at South Alabama for giving me the opportunity to work under and learn from some great leaders. I'd also like to thank the South Alabama players for their efforts over the past 3 seasons; they have been a pleasure to be around and to coach,” Wheelock said. “I look forward to this next phase in my coaching career and working to make a positive impact on the ULM soccer program, and to help it reach the University's goals. I would like to thank Brian Wickstrom, President Dr. Bruno, and Senior Woman Administrator Toni Gockel, along with the rest of the search committee for this opportunity to become part of the ULM family.”
Wheelock served as assistant coach with the Jaguars from 2013-15. She won South Region Assistant Coach of the Year this past season, selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Wheelock became the first-ever assistant coach from South Alabama to win the award as she helped the Jaguars to an 18-3-2 overall record and 9-0 in the Sun Belt Conference.
In three seasons, Wheelock coached the Jaguars to a 51-12-6 record. They won the SBC regular season titles in 2014 and 2015, and were crowned SBC Tournament champions all three years.
“We are excited to welcome Keyton to the Warhawk family. She brings a background of winning to our program and is excited to help us deliver a great student-athlete experience. I don’t think any coach in the country will work harder than Keyton to make everybody affiliated with our institution proud to be affiliated with our soccer program,” Wickstrom said.
This past season, Wheelock saw the Jaguars finish the year ranked No. 25 in the final NSCAA Coaches Poll. The team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after shutting out LSU, 4-0.
Since 2013, Wheelock has coached 18 All-Conference selections, 15 All-Tournament honorees, two SBC Offensive Player of the Year winners, two SBC Defensive Player of the Year winners, all three SBC Freshman of the Year winners and seven NSCAA All-South Region team selections.
“Keyton leaving South [Alabama] leaves me with mixed emotions. As much as I am delighted for her to get this wonderful opportunity at a quality school like ULM, I am sad to lose her as an assistant,” said South Alabama head coach Graham Winkworth. “Keyton is not only an excellent coach, but an even better person and I am sure that she will be a positive impact to all the people she comes into contact with in Louisiana. I know that Keyton and I will stay in close contact as she has become a close friend to my family and I wish her the very best in what will be an exciting career ahead.”
Prior to her time at South Alabama, Wheelock spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Tusculum College. In her first year, she helped the squad to a 15-5-3 record, a year in which the Pioneers advanced to the South Atlantic Conference semifinals and into the second round of the NCAA tournament. The team received National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA) and NCAA top-25 rankings that season.
Tusculum recorded a 19-16-3 mark over the next two seasons, advancing to the SAC tournament both times. In 2012, the Pioneers finished 12-3-3 and reached the SAC tournament semifinals.
Wheelock’s club soccer coaching slate includes stints with Blackhawks Soccer Club in Saint Paul, Minn., NorthStar Soccer Club in Traverse City, Mich., and Traverse Bay Area Youth Soccer Club, also in Traverse City. She has also instructed such camps as the Graham Winkworth Soccer Academy, Midwest Elite Soccer Camp, Joy of Soccer, Star Goalkeeper Academy, University of the Cumberlands team camp and NorthStar summer and winter camps.
In college, Wheelock played goalkeeper at the University of South Dakota and went 13-5 before transferring to Concordia University, Saint Paul where she was a three-year starter, two-year team captain and had an overall goals-against average of 1.38, a save percentage of 0.84 and 13 shutouts. She was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week twice and was voted to the all-conference team in 2008.
In high school, Wheelock posted 61 career shutouts at Traverse City West (Mich.).
Wheelock graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Kinesiology in 2008 and went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Education at Tusculum in 2011. She holds a United States Soccer Federation Class E coaching license, NSCAA National Coaching Diploma as well a state and regional goalkeeping diplomas. She has also obtained an Interscholastic Athletics Coaching Certificate.
Wheelock becomes the fourth women’s soccer head coach in ULM history following Rena Richardson (1999-00), Stacy Lamb (2001-11) and Roberto Mazza (2012-15).