Matt Hotchkin enters his 11th year as the head coach of the men’s soccer team at Grace College. Hotchkin has continued the great tradition of the men's program, building it into a respected and competitive force in the Crossroads League and the nation.
Hotchkin has imprinted his style of play on Grace soccer, resulting in one of Grace's strongest periods in program. The Lancers enjoyed a groundbreaking season in 2017, winning the Crossroads League Tournament championship and advancing to the NAIA National Championships for the first time in 35 years. The league championship was Grace's first in 25 years.
Hotchkin was named the 2015 Crossroads League Coach of the Year and NSCAA Region Coach of the Year for directing the Lancers to a runner-up spot in the regular season on the postseason league tournament. The Lancers finished 14-7-3, the team's most wins since 1983, to cap off the program's 50th season of competition.
Before Hotchkin's arrival, the Lancers had not reached the NCCAA National Championships since 2002. But the Hotchkin-led Lancers have advanced to NCCAA Nationals in five of the past seven seasons, including the last three years.
He has also recruited talented players to bring into Grace's program, including a pair of first-year Lancers who tallied 10 goals in 2011 (Altimus, Barthuly) and another who was named the 2012 Crossroads League Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman (Fiema). Prior to Hotchkin bringing in Fiema, Altimus and Barthuly, only one other Lancer over the previous 15 years had reached 10 single-season goals (Joe Kateule).
Under Hotchkin, the Lancers have posted a winning season in six of the past seven years. Hotchkin has helped make the newly renovated Miller Athletic Complex a formidable home atmosphere. Since 2011, Grace is 43-12-8 at Miller Athletic Complex (.746 winning percentage). The Lancers went undefeated at home in 2014 with a 7-0-2 record.
Hotchkin's dedication to academic excellence has resulted in the Lancers becoming consistent earners of the NAIA Scholar Team distinction (averaging over a 3.0 GPA as a team). In 2012-13, the Lancers finished the year 10th among NAIA men's soccer teams with a combined GPA of 3.23.
In the summer of 2012, the Lancers embarked on a sport mission trip to South Africa under Hotchkin's leadership. Grace's players were able to share their faith in the midst of training with and playing against local talent.
“Our goal is to win, while at the same time, striving to keep our values and our mission in place," Hotchkin said. "We want men who are serious about their faith in Christ, serious about life, serious about soccer, and at the same time, know how to have a great time."
Prior to coming to Grace College, Hotchkin served as the head men’s coach at Northland International University (Dunbar, Wisc.) from 2003-07. While there, he led the men’s program to five consecutive regional championships, two NCCAA National Championships, and was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007.
Hotchkin graduated from Bob Jones University (Greenville, S.C.) where he earned a degree in Bible/religion with a minor in history. He holds two Professional Development Certificates along with a National Diploma from the NSCAA.
Hotchkin and his wife Jennifer live in Warsaw with their two boys (Will, Matthew) and one girl (Lily).
Joe Kateule enters his 12th season as an assistant coach for the men's soccer team and 13th overall, serving as an assistant for the women's team for a year.
Kateule is a 2005 graduate of Grace College, where he was a two-time NCCAA All-American player in 2003 and 2004. Kateule, who also served as team captain, finished his three-year playing career in the top 10 of Grace's all-time leading goal scorers (33 goals).
He graduated with an undergraduate degree in general business and business administration and went on to obtain a master's degree in intercultural studies.
Kateule brings a different perspective to the Lancer bench having coached soccer at numerous youth levels in Lusaka, Zambia, for Ambassadors in Sports in Ohio, and for Soccer Extreme in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Born and raised in Zambia, South-Central Africa, Kateule obtained a diploma in electrical engineering at the Copperbelt University in Kitwe, Zambia. He represented his country on multiple occasions in the Southern African regional soccer competitions while playing club soccer as an amateur in the Zambian league.
After wrapping up his playing days for the Lancers in 2014, Austin Altimus will transition to the sidelines for his fourth year as an assistant coach this fall.
Altimus was one of Grace's top goal scorers during his career from 2011-14, racking up 22 goals with 12 assists. He also produced five game-winning goals, including two game winners as a senior in 2014.
He notched a personal-best 10 goals as a freshman, needing just 21 shots on goal to reach that mark. He started his career with a bang, producing a hat trick in his first collegiate game against Andrews.
In 2011 Altimus scored three goals in three matches at the NCCAA National Championships, including the game-winning strike in the 88th minute against Southwestern Assemblies of God.
In 2012 he scored a game winner in the 89th minute against Crossroads League foe Mt. Vernon Nazarene. He also assisted two game winners against Huntington and Indiana Tech.
Nikola Blazic will return to Grace's men's soccer team for his fourth season as an assistant coach in 2018, fresh off a standout career with the Lancers.
Blazic, a native of Zrenjanin, Serbia, was a mainstay in Grace's midfield during his four years. He finished his career with five goals and 11 assists. Three of his five goals were game winners, including two as a senior in 2014.
He made a name for himself immediately on Grace's campus by tallying three assists in his first collegiate match against Andrews. Later in his freshman season, he recorded the game-winning assist in the 88th minute to beat Southwestern Assemblies of God at NCCAA Nationals. He ended the year tied for 10th in the Crossroads League with five assists.
Blazic enjoyed a stellar senior season. He drilled in a 23-yard free kick in double overtime to defeat St. Francis, and his penalty kick in the second half sealed a comeback win over Moody Bible.
Matt Brown is ready for his fourth season on Grace’s coaching staff. Brown specializes in goalkeepers’ training for the Lancers.
Brown is a local product, having graduated from Warsaw Community High School. He earned All-State honors as a Tiger goalkeeper.
He went on to play collegiately for a year at NCAA Div. I IUPUI. Brown also played on the Indiana Olympic Team for two seasons.
Brown’s coaching at Grace has been readily apparent. Under Brown’s training, Collin Cone (2012 Grace graduate) became an All-League performer in goal for the Lancers. Cone earned multiple Player of the Week, including an NAIA Player of the Week honor.