By Carolyn Farr Shanesy
USC Upstate University Communications
Spartanburg, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Upstate announces the retirement of longtime men's soccer coach Greg Hooks and the promotion of alumnus Scott Halkett '96 as head coach.
Hooks, a coach for nearly 30 years, has led the Upstate Spartans for 22 seasons. His coaching career at USC Upstate is highlighted by the program's first appearance in the ASUN Men's Soccer Championship Game in 2015, as well as six NCAA Division II Tournament appearances with championship game appearances in 1995 and 1998. He also was instrumental in helping the team transition into play as a Division I competitor. Hooks was inducted into the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.
"I want to thank Greg Hooks for his commitment to the USC Upstate men's soccer program and for everything he has accomplished over the past 22 years," said Lee Fowler, who will retire later this month as USC Upstate's athletic director. "Greg has had a tremendous coaching career as a Spartan, from taking the program to two NCAA Division II National Championship games to making its first appearance in the finals of the ASUN Men's Soccer Championship in program history."
"I have enjoyed my time at Upstate, and I am appreciative of the opportunity that was offered to me in 1995 to be the soccer coach," Hooks said. "I inherited a talented group of players in 1995, and I've been fortunate to be able to coach a lot of great young men over the past 22 years."
In his first year with the program in 1995, with a team then known as the Rifles, Hooks had an overall record of 17-5-2, a Peach Belt Tournament Championship and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Hooks' star sweeper and a captain of the 1995 team, Scott Halkett, will become the program's fifth head coach.
"I'm very excited that Scott will be the new coach," Hooks said. "He has been a major contributor to the program for a long time, and I am very confident that he and the program will be successful."
Halkett said Hooks has served as a wonderful mentor, encouraging him and each year adding a little more responsibility to his duties as a coach.
"I'm honored to be named the next head coach," Halkett said. "Working under Greg's leadership has been fantastic. He has given me so many opportunities to get involved in the program, to be a better coach and to learn more about recruiting."
"Greg came to the University during my senior year, and we had a great year," Halkett said. "We played in the national championship game. I never would have dreamed that 22 years later, I would take over this program from him. I'm very thankful."
Halkett, an assistant coach for the Spartans for four years, was promoted earlier this year to associate head coach. A 2005 inductee into the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame, he served as a volunteer coach for the program before being named an assistant coach in 2013.
"Scott has been a part of this program in two capacities, both as a player and a coach," Fowler said. "He played an instrumental role as an assistant coach over the past four years and will move this program forward in the future. I am excited for the future of USC Upstate men's soccer under Scott."
The first men's soccer game of the 2017-18 season is set for 7 p.m., Thursday, August 17.
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