CANTON, Mo. -- Pat Atwell isn't making a connection to Culver-Stockton College or the Canton community a prerequisite for his coaching hires, but those things don't hurt.
"It seems to be working," said Atwell, the C-SC athletic director.
His latest hire follows that trend.
Atwell announced Wednesday he had hired Brian Davidson, a 2012 C-SC graduate, to be the next head men's soccer coach. He replaces Blake Ordell, who left after seven seasons to become the head coach at Sheridan (Wyo.) College.
Davidson recently wrapped up his first season as a volunteer assistant with the women's soccer program at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
"I like his work ethic, very blue collar," Atwell said. "He's a straight-forward, honest person. I want him on my team."
Davidson played in 61 career games over a four-year soccer career at C-SC, scoring 10 goals and adding eight assists. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in sports management and earned a master's degree in athletic administration from William Woods University in 2018.
All the while, he kept his eye on the C-SC program and awaited the opportunity to pursue a coaching opportunity there.
"I always knew (Ordell) was eventually going to part ways and look for better opportunities," Davidson said. "It was always something I kept my eye on. ... I've steadily watched the program improve. I want to help it take the next step and get in the top four (in the Heart of America Athletic Conference) and hopefully more."
Those he has worked with assured Davidson he's ready.
Davidson said he gained valuable knowledge in regards to training while serving as an assistant coach and goalkeeper's coach at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. Then he went to Southeast Missouri, where he worked alongside Redhawks coach Heather Nelson and her husband and assistant coach, Paul, and learned all aspects of running a program.
"I think everyone is nervous when they take their first coaching job and thinking, ‘Will I actually be able to recruit and do the training I want to do?'" Davidson said. "I was happy I was an assistant for so long and I learned so much. It made this feel like the right time."
And it's the right place where coaches come home to succeeed.
Women's soccer coach Tyler Tomlinson, football coach Tom Sallay and baseball coach Brad Gyorkos are C-SC alumni, while men's basketball coach Aaron Hill grew up in Canton while his dad, Steve, coached basketball for 14 seasons at C-SC.
"Being such a close-knit community at Culver, it's unique," Davidson said. "It's one of those unique places in America where you go there, you love it and you just want to return."