COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of Colorado Colorado Springs head men's soccer coach, Johnnie Keen, is taking a family leave of absence from the soccer program as his wife is set to begin a U.S. military deployment. Through his absence, Associate Head Coach Brian Miller will assume the role of head coach.
Athletic Director Nathan Gibson commented, "This is an important time for Coach Keen to be able to attend to his children and serve his family while his wife is serving our country. It is also a time for the Mountain Lion Family and those members of the UCCS soccer program to step up for Coach Keen while Johnnie takes family leave."
Coach Keen will remain with the program through the Spring in a limited role in order to help make a smooth transition to Coach Miller. "I'd like to thank Athletic Director Gibson and the UCCS leadership for their understanding and for their willingness to accommodate me and my family during this time. Though stepping away from the program is very difficult, I'm confident this is the best path forward for my family and the team. There is a ton of talent, focus and commitment in the UCCS men's soccer roster. They deserve steady leadership that will match their level of engagement. Coach Miller is ready to take on this role."
Taking over the helm of the program will be Brian Miller, a familiar face to the program as Miller has served as the Assistant and Associate Head Coach over the past seven years. Miller has been instrumental in leading all aspects of the program during his time with the Mountain Lions. Gibson expressed his confidence in Miller by commenting, "Brian is ready to step up and lead the program. It was essential to me that we maintain consistency in leadership so that our players know we are not changing course, we are pushing ahead with the same culture, commitments and values that this program has established. Our student athletes have had great success under Coach Keen and Coach Miller is the right person to continue to build upon this foundation."
Coach Miller expressed his excitement and belief in the program, "I want to thank [Athletic] Director Gibson and Coach Keen for this opportunity. We have a great group of student athletes and my commitment will remain to them. I am excited to see what we will accomplish together."
Gibson, along with Coach Miller and Coach Keen, notified the team of their plans last week. Gibson said to the team, "changes can be difficult, but you all know and respect Coach Miller and he will honor the commitments to each student athlete, as long as you all stay committed to this program. I am proud of Coach Keen for focusing on his family during this time…and am confident that Coach Miller and the leadership within this team will push this program to new heights."