William “Bill” Shellenberger
The sport of soccer began in Virginia under the direction of legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bill Shellenberger in 1954 at Lynchburg College. The first Hornet team of Shellenberger’s finished 2-3. His overall record at Lynchburg College was 371 wins, 167 losses, and 48 ties. With 31-consecutive winning campaigns, Shellenberger retired in 1998 as the second-winningest coach in collegiate history.
Lynchburg soccer dominated conference and state action during Shellenberger’s tenure, winning ten Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships and eight Virginia state titles. During this time, the Hornets would claim 11 All-America accolades, 89 All-Region honors, 52 All-ODAC selections, and eight ODAC “Player of the Year” honorees. Shellenberger was recognized as ODAC “Coach of the Year” five times.
Lynchburg College also fared well on the regional and national levels, making 10 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. Before NCAA competition, the Hornets won three National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) District 29 championships, with NAIA Area 5 regional appearances.
Before joining the ODAC as a charter member in 1976, Lynchburg College was a member of the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Dixie) and won eight Dixie titles. Prior to the Dixie, the Hornets won three Mason-Dixon Conference championships.
The Division III Hornets played many Division I opponents over the years and own winning records against the majority, including the perennial power University of Virginia (12-9-5), Virginia Tech (17-6-2), Virginia Military Institute (18-1), Old Dominion (3-0), American (7-0), and North Carolina State (8-2-1).
In addition to coaching and teaching at Lynchburg College, Shellenberger served as athletic director and at one time coached seven sports: soccer, track, cross country, basketball, baseball, golf and tennis. He has been named ODAC “Coach of the Year” in golf six times. In 1978, Shellenberger was featured in both Sports Illustrated and Soccer America as the winningest soccer coach in America. In 1990, the soccer field at Lynchburg College was named in his honor as the Father of Soccer in the Lynchburg area as well as Virginia.
Shellenberger has been elected to the Soccer Hall of Fame, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame, Bluefield College Hall of Fame, Lynchburg College Hall of Fame and the Lynchburg Area Sports Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, special citation and merit awards as well as the prestigious Jeffrey Award for Coaching Excellence, named in honor of one of Shellenberger’s own former coaches.