Head coach Brett Surrency enters his fourth season in command and his fifth with the Panthers. As the leader of the program, he has not wasted any time stamping his mark on its future.
Appointed head coach prior to the 2010 season, Surrency quickly orchestrated a Panthers’ turnaround from a losing season to their best finish in the Colonial Athletic Association since they joined the conference in 2005. The initial year laid the groundwork for his program’s philosophy going forward: High expectations, hard work and excellence on the field of play.
Last season Surrency continued to push his players as they faced many elite teams including top-ranked Maryland and No. 15 Old Dominion. During a season where the Panthers played in 12 games decided by one goal, the team never stopped fighting, which was apparent in the back-to-back overtime wins to end the season.
In 2011, Georgia State accomplished many firsts including their first NCAA tournament and CAA tournament appearances in school history. The 2011 squad achieved the program’s highest RPI ranking in school history at No. 26 on the way to its most wins (13) since 1986. The team tied the school record for shutouts with nine and placed three players on the All-CAA team.
With a background as a two-time, all-conference defender, Surrency brings to GSU a system that is organized and disciplined on the back end. The 2010 men’s soccer team embodied the hard-working, disciplined approach of its new head coach. Surrency guided the team through debilitating losses that forced several key members, including four-year starter Joe Castaldo and 2009 All-CAA third-team member Chris Peacos, off its back line. The Panthers fought to a 7-7-3 overall record and an eighth-place finish in the CAA.
The Gainesville, Fla. native saw his team accomplish many firsts in his initial year at the helm, including winning its CAA opener for the first time in school history and notching its first win over NCAA tournament participant Old Dominion in an emotional 4-3 decision. But Surrency holds higher expectations for his Panthers, mainly to contend for titles and NCAA tournament bids every season.
As a former dedicated, Division I student-athlete, Surrency expects his players to accept his challenge of a blue-collar mentality and prime conditioning he sets forth.
“Fitness is a huge part of our program and quite a high demand that we place on the players,” Surrency said. “I’m a big believer in trying to reach the full potential, fitness-wise, and feel that it can be an ultimate separator at the end of a game.”
Surrency set the tone for future teams by recruiting an accomplished group of 11 newcomers. With a mix of local and international talent, the Georgia State men’s soccer program will be apt for improvement in the coming years.
“We are trying to bring in players that will fit into our vision for the program,” Surrency said. “We put in the work to find out which kids will be a good fit for the program. As of late, some of those players have been international, but Georgia athletes will always be the majority of our roster and important in the success of our team.”
Surrency is as experienced with the GSU men’s soccer program as any person. He was an assistant for four years before he was promoted to head coach prior to the 2010 season by Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick.
Surrency has been a member of the coaching staff since 2005. He spent one year as a graduate assistant prior to his four as an assistant coach, where he assisted in all aspects of the program. He has a United States Soccer Federation National B License and is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He has worked with the Georgia Soccer Olympic Development program, leading the 1995 age group state team to the national championships in March of 2012. Surrency has also worked with KYX out of Jacksonville, Fla., Forsyth Fusion Soccer Club and Atlanta Youth Soccer Association.
Before joining GSU in 2005, Surrency spent the 2004 season as a student assistant coach at his alma mater, Jacksonville University. He held multiple responsibilities with the Dolphins including daily training sessions, training non-traveling players and assisting with administrative work.
Surrency was a four-time All-Atlantic Sun Academic performer and a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference honoree at Jacksonville. He earned Atlantic Sun first-team honors in his senior year of 2003 and second team laurels as a sophomore in 2001. He was a four-year starter and three-year captain as a center back. He earned the Bill Coulthart Award as the Dolphins’ most valuable player in 2003.
Surrency received the 2003 Douglas B. Milne Award recognizing excellent sportsmanship by the Jacksonville athletic department, and was a NSCAA/Adidas 2003 College Men Scholar All-South Region team member. He was a four-time, all-area honoree at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla. and received mention in “Who’s Who Among American High School Students.”
Surrency earned his bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Jacksonville in 2004 and added a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State in 2007. He’s volunteered with the Special Olympics, Soccer in the Streets, AfterSchool All-Stars, Boys and Girls Club and organized various clinics in the soccer community.
“It’s exciting to be at Georgia State University and part of this athletics program at a time of such dynamic growth,” Surrency said, “The expectations at GSU have risen substantially and we look forward to meeting those expectations and seeing our goals come to fruition.”
Surrency’s sister, Meagan, is in her fourth season as a women’s soccer assistant coach at Southern Methodist University. She played soccer at Jacksonville from 2003-06 where she was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Academic team each season, and helped the Dolphins reach the 2006 NCAA tournament.
Surrency was born Aug. 11, 1982 in Houston, Texas and is the son of Donald and Susan Surrency. He is married to the former Crystal Cantrell and they have one daughter, Grey Harper Surrency, who was born Dec. 16, 2012. The family resides in the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta.