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The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

    Blake Hornbuckle

    Blake Hornbuckle

    Blake Hornbuckle has made history again at Southeastern when the Ladies soccer team brought home another Southland Conference Title. Walking into the coffee shop sporting a Lions soccer sweater and shorts, he is comfortable in the cold and walks with an air of confidence and ease. The sudden Louisiana weather change at the end of December has not deterred him, and he talks of his family life while waiting in line for his drink and meal.
    Courtesy of Blake Hornbuckle

    The Lion’s Roar: You were named co-coach of the year, how does that feel?

    Blake Hornbuckle: It is quite humbling to be honored with someone like Bryan Lee, and I think it is a byproduct of the team’s work.


    TLR: What is your winning formula? How do you go about choosing girls and deciding how you work with them?

    BH: It’s all about your philosophy, the imprint you want to put on the game and how you want the team to play. You have this vision of how you want them to play. The biggest thing about trying to be the biggest coach that you can be is by getting your players to be able to commit to your philosophies and ideas. Sometimes you hit that mark, sometimes you miss that mark, sometimes you miss it narrowly but when you do hit it, it makes a big, big difference.


    TLR: What is your philosophy?

    BH: We look for players who have a specific mindset. We go back to the basis of what got us all here: communication, team work [and] things from the days of old, and then you have to blend that with the new mentality of people today. The millennial generation, whatever generation people are termed you have to be able to relate as best you can with them and get them to understand there is a workable solution to everything you do. And in our sport, you have to solve problems on the field.


    TLR: You have had 115 All Conference players, 79 All Louisiana Selection players and you have had Players of the Year in multiple categories; do you always see that coming in? How do you go through the recruiting process?

    BH: It’s all when you go through the recruiting process, and when I see them I get a feeling, you see certain aspects of what they do and you think, “Oh yeah, I like this kid right here. I think she would be great for our team or program.” But, you also look at what kind of person they are; character is a big, big part of it. What they do when things go wrong on the field, in the classroom or in life, and how they handle it.


    TLR: You lead Southeastern’s coaching staff with victories, do you feel any pressure?

    BH: Well, pressure is what you put on yourself, and I’m always going to push myself.


    TLR: What has your experience been at Southeastern as compared to other schools you have coached at?

    BH: Well, I’m getting ready to start my 19th year here, and I’ve grown as a coach and a person in all of that time. 


    TLR: When did you begin playing soccer?

    BH: I began playing when I was about four or five years old.


    TLR: Who got you started?

    BH: My parents put me in the YMCA back in the early 70’s, and there we go, the rest is history.


    TLR: Did your experience as a college athlete impact how you would coach and your coaching style?

    BH: Well, I was a defender. I played left back, and I was very defensive oriented to where I enjoyed marking players more than winning a ball. In today’s defensive mentality, those players are really difficult to find more so as everybody wants to attack.


    TLR: What was it like playing for Maryville Tennessee College?

    BH: It was a fantastic time for me just as a person, because I was able to develop friendships with people that I still keep in touch with today. We had players who played professionally, and it was a tremendous team. I had great players around me, and it allowed me to really smack into balls and enjoy my time there.


    TLR: How important do you think the relationship between the players are off the field? Many of them live together, and do you think that impacts how they are aware of one another in a game or at practice?

    BH: I think they are, because it helps them if they’re struggling with something they may not want to share with their teammates or coaching staff. That’s their prerogative, that’s okay, so long as they do have someone to talk to, whether it be their roommate, one of the counselors, we have an amazing counseling facility, there’s so many things our student athletes face today, more so than when I played. There’s a lot more going on in the world.


    TLR: The role of the coach is evolving as well, what coach have you had that may have stuck out more than the others?

    BH: All of my coaches have been fantastic, one that shoulders above the rest is a man named Ralf Landry at the College of Charleston, and is still coaching today. I learned from him everyday and completed a lot of philosophical ideas. I learned everyday when we were together.


    TLR: What was it like for you to transition from the position of a star player to a coach?

    BH: The transition itself is very interesting. You go in and all of a sudden you realize there is a process to this. It’s more than putting a ball on the field and telling players to kick it. Our sport is so much more scientific based and measure based than any other team. You have to look at what types of intensity levels you have on the teams and moderations of intensities, your timelines you have to look at what you’re doing to help your team because each meeting is designed specifically for a purpose. So, what we’re really doing is watching to make sure recovery is always an optimum for our players.


    TLR: Was this always the path you wanted to take?

    BH: It was about staying in touch with the game when I first came out, and here we are 25 years later, moving along. I’ve still got another good 20 years of coaching ahead of me that I’m still excited about. I can only do it because of the support I have in my family. My wife is probably the strongest person I know, she is unbelievable, and I have two young girls [aged] six and ten years old. I had two great parents that really set the course for me. You can’t choose your parents, but if I could, I would go back and choose them again.


    TLR: Tell me more about your family?

    BH: I grew up in Georgia and my mom and dad were always behind me in everything I did, everything I wanted to try to do [and] there has never been a time in my life they weren’t there, they have always been there. When our two kids were born, they came down. They come down for specific events, just a phone call here, a note there, they live seven-eight hours away and they were just here for this Christmas. It was absolutely a special time for me because when I have the five people I cherish the most in the room together, at one point, it makes my life very nice. My two girls are very sweet, a lot of fun. My youngest enjoys soccer and swimming, and my oldest enjoys horses and ballet. We want them to be involved with something and that’s what my parents did for me. They’ll find what interests them and we’ll support them. My wife is my biggest fan and I’m her biggest fan because she supports me in everything I do, everyday.


    TLR: Did you expect this to happen twenty years ago? Did you see yourself where you are now?

    BH: I don’t know if you ever really see yourself anywhere in a specific place. I think we all start out with a vision of what things might be, but the journey is the fun part of getting to the destination. You get to experience so many things along the way.

    Soccer team holding Southland Conference Trophy

    The Lady Lions soccer team won their eighth Southland Conference Championship title under the leadership
    of head coach Blake Hornbuckle this past season.
    UCA Athletics / Josh Goff


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