In 2016, Head coach Brett Surrency enters his seventh season in command and his 12th overall with the Panthers. As the leader of the program, the 34-year old (August 2016) has not wasted any time stamping his mark on its future as the team moved into the Sun Belt in 2014.
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.
In 2015, the Panthers produced a 9-8-1 (even though the "tie" was a shootout win over Georgia Southern). GSU ranked No. 10 in the final NSCAA Southeast Regional poll after nine weeks in the Top 10 and a highest ranking at No. 6.
The Panthers advanced to the Sun Belt Championship Match after a dramatic comeback semifinal win over Georgia Southern. Down, 3-0, GSU rallied to tie and then win on shootouts. For a second straight year, GSU fell to Hartwick for the championship.
In 2015, GSU had an All-Region pick (Eddie Wilding) and four All-Sun Belt Conference honorees (Wilding, Conor Acheson, Hannes Burmeister and Liam Fitzsimmons). Six times, GSU had the Sun Belt Student-Athlete of the Week.
GSU beat Brown 3-2 early in the 2015 season when the Bears were top 25 ranked, as well as No. 68 RPI North Florida. Georgia State was No. 5 in the NCAA in scoring in 2015 (2.28 goals per match) with a top match of six goals (vs. NJIT) that was the most in a game since 1994.
In 2014, GSU began play in a newly-formed Sun Belt league and finished second with a 3-2 mark with an 8-10 overall mark. Four Panthers earned All-Sun Belt status with Rashid Alarape and Stephen McGill earning first-team honors, while Chris Locandro and Aaron Jones garnered second-team recognition. The Panthers finished with the highest RPI in the Sun Belt and finished by winning four of the final six matches.
In April 2014, former defender Michael Nwiloh was selected with the second pick in the fourth round by Chivas USA in the MLS SuperDraft. He came to Georgia State in 2010 and thanks to the guidance of Surrency he became the first GSU men’s soccer player to sign a professional contract with a MLS franchise.
After a slow start in 2013, Surrency’s team built momentum that saw the Panthers finish the season 9-4-1 over the final 14 matches to finish the 2013 campaign with a 9-9-1 mark. GSU strung together a six-match unbeaten streak that included a 1-1 draw on the road against No. 6 Washington, which reached the elite eight of the 2013 NCAA tournament. The Panthers then had a three-match winning streak that began with a 2-0 win against No. 9 Furman. Victory was GSU’s first against a top-10 team since a 2-1 win over Clemson in 2001.
In 2012, Surrency pushed his players as they faced many elite teams including top-ranked Maryland and No. 15 Old Dominion. During a season when 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 its 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 brought 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 difficult 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 disciplined approach to the game.
“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. In the same breath, we want our guys to understand the game and be able to make the right decisions. We feel like we play a good brand of soccer that places the emphasis on the players seeing and reacting to the situations presented in the game.”
Surrency continues to add many talented players to his squad year in and year out, including a mix of local and international talent. This has allowed Surrency and his staff to develop depth at every position that will to help the Georgia State men’s soccer to continue improving in the coming years.
“We are trying to bring in players that will fit into our vision for the program,” Surrency said. “Those players could be local, domestic or international as long as they show the drive to be successful on and off the field and in the classroom.”
He is as experienced with the GSU men’s soccer program as any person. He 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.
Surrency 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 Atlantic Sun All-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.
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 has volunteered with the Special Olympics, Soccer in the Streets, AfterSchool All-Stars, Boys and Girls Club and organized various clinics in the soccer community.
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 a daughter, Grey Harper Surrency, who was born Dec. 16, 2012, and a son, Rowen Donald Surrency, born on May 5, 2015. The family resides in the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta.