Keith Wiggans ’04 knew he had some big cleats to fill when he took over the men’s soccer program almost three years ago. How do you replace a legend like Ralph Lundy – whose name is on the field that Wiggans and the Cougars practice and play on each day?

But as a player – and later as an assistant coach – Wiggans had been a big part of the legacy left by Lundy, who retired in August 2019 after 46 years in coaching. In 32 years at the College, Lundy won 321 games with five NCAA Tournament appearances and six conference championships.

“Coach Lundy changed my life,” says Wiggans, who was an all-conference goalkeeper for the Cougars from 2000 to 2004. “He put this program on the map. He taught me about life on and off the field. It was more than just soccer; he taught me so much about being a father, a good husband and a good person. That’s my goal as well: to help the young men who come through this program grow on and off the field.”

When Lundy decided to retire, there was only one person he trusted to carry on the legacy he had built over three decades. Lundy gave CofC athletics director Matt Roberts just one name to replace him – Keith Wiggans.

“There were some big names that reached out and were interested in the job after I retired,” says Lundy. “I told Matt that I believed in Keith Wiggans, and I think he saw the same great qualities that I saw in Keith as well. Keith is a great young man, and he is a great leader of men.”

Wiggans, who had been an assistant coach under Lundy for 11 seasons, took over the program in December 2019. His first season as head coach didn’t go exactly as planned. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, CofC postponed its fall sports in 2020 until the spring of 2021. For 14 months after he was hired, Wiggans had to figure out a way to keep his players motivated and focused before playing in their first match.

It wasn’t always easy.

“A lot of Zoom meetings,” says Wiggans, whose wife, Alice Keeney ’04, played for the women’s soccer team. “I’m not sure I could have managed the pandemic when I was a player, but the guys did a great job. One of the benefits of the pandemic was that I got to know them so much better away from the game. We had a lot of discussions about things that didn’t have anything to do with soccer.”

Wiggans was a key member on some of the College’s best teams. A three-year starter, he had a 41-16-5 record and helped lead CofC to its first Southern Conference title as well as an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004, beating the University of South Carolina in the opening round. One of the best goalkeepers in school history, Wiggans still holds the school record for career goals-against average (0.99), wins (41), shutouts (23) and saves (269).

“Keith had great leadership qualities,” says Lundy. “He was quiet verbally but spoke very loudly with his actions on the field.”

Wiggans’ goal is to get the Cougars back onto the national soccer landscape. The College’s partnership with the Charleston Battery professional soccer club, for which he played seven seasons, and the upgrades made to Ralph Lundy Field have given the program a much-needed boost.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be a top-20 program again,” he says. “We have everything we need – the facilities, and the support from administration and the Athletics Department. It’s my job to get us back into the NCAA Tournament and then maintain that success.”