ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s soccer head coach Neil Payne announced the addition of Paul Babba to the program’s coaching staff on Wednesday, March 28.
Babba joins the team after spending the last two seasons as the head coach of Bryan College women’s soccer in Dayton, Tenn. He brings seven years of collegiate head coaching experience and over a decade of coaching at the collegiate level to the Phoenix program.
“With over 10 years of coaching experience and seven years as a head coach, Paul has an impressive record of bringing success to every program he has been involved with,” Payne said. “He has a clear understanding of what is required to improve the entire team environment and ultimately bring positive and progressive change to the program. In addition, Paul’s knowledge of the game and coaching style are a great fit for the culture and playing style we’re looking to implement as we enter this new cycle. We’re thrilled to have Paul join our coaching staff and we’re equally excited for him and his family to be joining the Elon community.”
“I would like to thank Neil Payne for this great opportunity,” Babba said. “I am excited to serve as a part of this staff and repay the faith Neil has shown in me. It is a privilege to be able to do what I am passionate about for a living. I am excited about the opportunity to work with the student athletes that will come through our program. My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Elon community.”
He joins the program after two very successful seasons at Bryan. There, Babba was recognized for his success by being named 2017 Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after guiding Bryan to its winningest season in recorded history. The Lions finished with a 12-7 overall mark, which included a 9-2 record in AAC action, and the program also won its first-ever regular-season conference title. Bryan also received votes in the NAIA National Poll at the end of the 2017 campaign.
Under Babba’s watch, four players earned major awards from the AAC and senior standout Ruth Rosales became the program’s first NSCAA All-American honorable mention while earning AAC Offensive Player of the Year accolades. Six Bryan College players collected All-AAC recognition and six others were rewarded with All-Academic Team accolades.
In his debut with Bryan in 2016, Babba helped the Lions to a 10-10-2 overall mark, which at the time was the winningest season in recorded history. The team kept the momentum alive as the year came to a close, knocking off top-seeded teams in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament, which led to an appearance in the AAC Conference Championship match.
The Numan, Nigeria, native came to Bryan after spending five years as the head coach at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. While at Delta State, Babba played an integral part in leading the Lady Statesmen to their lowest goals against average in the history of the program. He also emphasized the pursuit of excellence off the field as the Lady Statesmen were a fixture in DSU’s community service competition, The Champs Cup, where they were recognized for their academic commitments.
Prior to his time at Delta State, Babba served for four seasons as the assistant coach to head coach Darryl Longabaugh at Mississippi College. He spent the majority of his time focusing on the forwards and midfielders. He helped guide the Lady Choctaws in many successful seasons, producing numerous All-ASC performers. Babba also served as a club coach with the Mississippi Fire Juniors and had also previously held the post of director of coaching at the Brandon Soccer League.
Prior to his coaching career, Babba was a four-year starter at Belhaven College. He finished his career as the Blazers’ second all-time leading scorer with 37 total goals. He also compiled 18 assists for 92 total points during his time at Belhaven.
His outstanding collegiate career opened the door for Babba to compete at the next level, playing two seasons with Mississippi Brilla F.C., a team in the Professional Development League (PDL).
While at Belhaven, he studied sports administration, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2007. He continued his education at Mississippi College, receiving his master’s in intercollegiate athletic administration in 2010.
Babba holds a USSF A-Senior License and a National Youth License. Paul and his wife Laura have three children, Noah, Micah and Hannah.
Babba Coaching Experience
2018 Assistant Coach, Elon Univeristy
2016-17 Head Coach, Bryan College
2011-15 Head Coach, Delta State University
2007-10 Assistant Coach, Mississippi College