There were cuts on the American University men’s coaching staff Wednesday afternoon, but very little was missing from the staff when all was said and done, sans a bit of hair.
In honor of former AU assistant coach and 2004 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, Shawn Kuykendall, who was recently diagnosed with thymic cancer, the team coaches shaved their heads yesterday before practice. As they sat down to get their buzz, both the team, along with Kuykendall, watched the clippers do their work.
“This is one of a few ways for us to show support for Shawn,” said head coach Todd West.
Along with the team and coaches, the administrative staff was also on hand. For those who couldn’t make the event, this weekend many AU alumni will return to Reeves Field to celebrate Alumni/Kuykenstrong Day as the Eagles open Patriot League play against Lehigh.
“The way that Shawn has taken up his fight with cancer and remained so positive throughout, has been and continues to be an inspiration to me and the American Soccer program,” West said. “Watching the entire AU soccer staff come together in support of Shawn was very emotional for me and for Shawn. I am grateful to everyone that came out in support and ask everyone in our soccer community to come out Saturday at 1 p.m., to support Shawn and the American men's soccer program!”
Kuykendall joined the coaching staff in 2010 as a volunteer assistant, and was promoted to an assistant coach in 2011.
In his three seasons with the team, the Eagles won consecutive Patriot League regular season titles in 2011-2012, and reached the Patriot League Championship Game all three seasons.
As a four-year player at AU, part of the 2005 graduating class, Kuykendall was part of the only class in program history to earn three NCAA Tournament berths.
Kuykendall left AU tied for second all time in assists (29), fifth in points (75), and seventh in goals (23).
This success led him to being the 48th overall pick in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft by D.C. United.