Last December, Kevin Kewley was handed the unenviable task of taking the reins of the Barton Community College men’s soccer program.
Unenviable because his predecessor, Oliver Twelvetrees, had a seven-year run that amassed a 127-22-3 record and won four National Junior College Athletic Association Region VI titles.
Kewley said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There is a little pressure because Oliver did so well here,” Kewley said. “I’ve coached a lot, and before that, I was a player for several years, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Kewley said he’ll be returning nine players from last year’s squad that turned in a 16-3-1 record, including 10-0 in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference play, and won an NJCAA Region VI title before falling to Western Texas College in the Plains District Championship 2-0.
“The team looks pretty good,” Kewley said. “I had a little chance to work with some of them last spring. Obviously, we have a few guys back from last year, and we have some new guys coming in that will be able to help. We have a pretty good balance of freshmen and sophomores. I expect big things from them.”
Kewley and the Cougars even have a couple of exhibition games under their belts.
“We won an exhibition game against Friends University,” Kewley said. “But we lost to Fort Hays State in a close game.”
Kewley began his playing career with the Liverpool Football Club from 1976-78, playing in one game. He also played for the Dallas Tornado in the North American Soccer League before settling in to a 10-year stint with the Wichita Wings, a Major Indoor Soccer League team, from 1979-89.
Kewley was a midfielder and a defender.
“Obviously, I loved playing,” Kewley said. “There’s nothing like playing. It’s the ultimate high, but I love coaching as well. It keeps me close to the game.
“I guess as a player, I was kind of used to coaching. I used to boss people around on the field.”
He went on to be an assistant and head coach of the Wings, even earning the honor of being the head coach of the National Conference Team in the 1991 National Professional Soccer League all-star game.
When the NPSL ceased operations, Kewley coached youth teams in the Wichita area before taking a head coaching position at Pratt Community College.
In his three years with the Beavers, Kewley was 27-25-1 before taking the job at Barton.