Ken Lolla, who guided Akron to an impressive 18-1-4 record this season, has been named the new head coach of the University of Louisville men's soccer team. Lolla's Akron team finished the season with a final ranking of fifth in the nation by the NSCAA/adidas poll.
Lolla comes to Louisville after guiding Akron to its most successful season in school history. The Zips advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and tied eventual national champion Maryland but in the final outcome fell 4-1 in penalty kicks. Akron also became the only school with two players named first team NSCAA All-Americans and a third player named to the second team.
Lolla joins the Cardinals after spending 13 seasons with the University of Akron. Lolla guided the Zips to a 160-68-25 record and eight Mid-America Conference Championships and a school record five straight NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2004 Lolla directed the Zips to the MAC Tournament title and a then school record fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Akron finshed the season with a record of 13-5-3, making Lolla the all-time winningest coach in the program's storied 50-year history.
In 2003 Lolla's Zips finished 15-5-2 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Akron also became the first-ever Mid-American Conference school to earn a tournament seeding, claiming the No. 15 spot and a first-round bye. During the 2002 season the Zips made their second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and won their second MAC Tournament championship.
That came after a 2001 season which was marked by several milestones for Lolla and his team. He notched his 100th coaching victory at Akron on Oct. 14, 2001with a 1-0 win over Wright State. After a 10-6-1 season and second-place finishes in the Mid-American Conference regular season standings and tournament, the Zips became the first MAC school to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The 1998 Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, Lolla's teams are 62-9-5 all-time in regular-season MAC play and he has tutored 38 first-team All-MAC players. His first Akron squad captured the school's initial MAC title with a perfect 5-0-0 league mark. In 1995, Akron again went through MAC play 5-0-0. In 1998, the Zips captured the regular-season MAC title with a 7-0-1 mark, and won their first MAC tournament title with a 4-1 win over Bowling Green to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The 1999 season brought Akron an unbeaten mark of 6-0-1 and its third-consecutive MAC title. Although the Zips posted a 4-2-0 MAC mark in 2000, they finished in a four-way tie for first place during the regular season.
In addition to his duties with the Zips, Lolla has taken his skills to the national level. In the fall of 1999, he was appointed head coach of the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-15 National Team. Lolla's travels with the national team have taken him around the world, including stops in Italy and South America.
Prior to coming to Akron, Lolla posted a 49-16-3 record in three seasons at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C., including a 19-3-2 mark in 1992. The Crusaders were the sixth-ranked team in the NAIA that season. His Belmont Abbey clubs won three consecutive Carolinas Conference Championships which earned Lolla numerous accolades. He was named the Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year in 1990. In 1992, Lolla received NSCAA-NAIA National Coach of the Year honors.
Lolla was considered one of the finest midfielders in the Atlantic Coast Conference, earning all-conference honors three times and earned All-South and All-America honors in 1981 and 1983 while at Duke University. In 2002 he was one of 55 players named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary Men's Soccer Team.
Lolla played professionally for the Canton Invaders of the National Professional Soccer League from 1984 through 1988. Following his professional career, Lolla returned to Duke as an assistant coach in 1985 and then again for the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
In 1984, Lolla played professionally with the Charlotte Gold of the USL. He then moved to the Canton Invaders of the NPSL and finished his playing career with the New Jersey Eagles and the Penn-Jersey Spirit of the ASL in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
Lolla holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Duke, which he received in 1983. Lolla is married to the former Tina Bowman. The couple has three children, an eight year old son Tyler, a four year old daughter Kristiana, and a two year old son Elijah.