Meany Joins Angelina College Soccer Coaching Staff Ireland Natives Brings Academic, Athletic Experience

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

As the Angelina College soccer teams prepare to open the season in a few short weeks, they’ll do so with a welcome addition to the coaching staff.

Alex Meany arrives for his first season as an assistant coach at AC, having spent the past four years as the graduate assistant for Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee at the NAIA level. Coaching both men’s and women’s soccer – as he will at AC – Meany helped lead the FHU Lady Lions to an opening-round tournament win over the previous conference champions in 2018. The following season, Meany led his squad to an 8-4 conference record.

The Dublin, Ireland native also spent four years as a player at FHU, earning team captain honors as a mere freshman. That experience, Meany said, helped shaped his approach to coaching.

“I feel I’ll be able to bring the principles of leadership to our team,” Meany said. “When I attended my four-year school, I was named team captain my freshman year, and I led the team for four years.

“What I want for our teams is 11 captains on the pitch at all times, so there’s not just one person leading. Everyone has a responsibility, and holding everyone accountable will make us much stronger as a group.”

Before beginning his career as a coach, Meany played for St. Joseph’s in Ireland’s schoolboy level; at the age of 16, he signed with the Bray Wanderers in the U19 SSE Airtricity League. Afterward, he began his collegiate career at FHU, where he was a three-time All-Conference Honorable Mention and a three-time Academic All-Conference selection. As a student, Meany became an American Midwest Scholar Athlete and an NAIA Academic All-American.

In his senior season, Meany led the American Midwest Conference in points per game (23.0) with nine goals and five assists in 12 games.

He graduated FHU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration; in 2021, he earned his Master of Arts in Teaching, also from Freed-Hardeman University.

Meany said he believes his experiences on both the athletic and academic sides of collegiate soccer are going to help players who are looking to advance from the junior college level.

“Here in JUCO, the aim is to move up, whether it’s professionally or collegiately,” Meany said. “I was fortunate enough to play at a four-year university, so I know the standards required, and I feel I can help our players achieve their goals.

“We can’t ignore the academic side. We want our players to have the highest GPA possible to make them even more attractive to recruiters, both on and off the field.”

With other coaching options available, Meany said his decision to become a Roadrunner came down to his fellow coaches’ approaches to the game and to the community.

“I saw some other jobs posted, and I had some interviews, but I looked at Coach (Nataki) Stewart’s and Coach (Paul) Murillo’s bios, and I saw they’ve had a lot of experience working at various academies,” Meany said. “I knew I could learn from them.

“What really got me was reading Coach Stewart’s comments on getting the community involved and building those relationships. That’s the main reason I’m here.”

Meany will reside on the AC campus in Lufkin as the Resident Assistant.

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