Courtesy of CNU Athletic Communications
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Following the retirement of Steve Shaw on Monday, Christopher Newport University has named Justin Chezem as head men's soccer coach. Director of Athletics Kyle McMullin announced the elevation of the Captains' long-time assistant coach after Chezem has helped lead CNU men's soccer for the last 12 seasons.
"I can not be more excited about the future of the men's soccer program," said McMullin. "We are fortunate to have someone like Coach Chezem prepared for this opportunity. Not only is he a tremendous coach, but as an alumnus of Christopher Newport his passion for the university and our student-athletes is a powerful combination that will enhance the tradition within our men's soccer program. Captains soccer has long been committed to building young men into champions on our campus, in our community and on the field. Justin will continue this commitment to excellence in all facets of the program."
Chezem has been directly involved with the CNU men's soccer program for 16 years as both a player and assistant coach. He has been on staff as the Captains have grown to a national power, including becoming the first team in CNU Athletics history to garner a number one national ranking in 2009. CNU reached the NCAA Tournament eight times during his tenure, including three trips to the National Quarterfinals, and have won five conference championships.
"I am incredibly honored and humbled by this opportunity," said Chezem. "I would like to thank President Paul Trible, Vice President Bill Brauer and Director of Athletics Kyle McMullin along with Carrie Gardner, Matt Kelchner, and the entire CNU Athletic Department. My family and I would also like to send a special thank you to Steve Shaw and his wife, Alice. Steve's dedication to serving others and his attention to treating this program like a family has had a major impact on my life and career. Steve and Alice have become wonderful friends to our family and we wish them nothing but the best as they begin a new chapter of their lives."
While a member of Shaw's staff for over half of his illustrious career, Chezem was a part of 180 wins in 12 seasons for an impressive average of 15 wins per year. In addition to the Captains' success on the field, Chezem has helped grow the team's involvement in the community through camps and clinics while working to expand the Captains' alumni base. Last year, Chezem spearheaded a fundraising effort on CNU Day that netted the soccer program over $30,000.
"There is no better choice in this country to lead the program forward," said Coach Shaw. "Coach Chezem has been my right hand man for many years and is a great student of the game. He has initiated many of the positives that make CNU soccer and has, in my eyes, been an 'Associate Head Coach' for some time now. I have all the faith in the world that Coach Cheese will continue the excellence we have established and even break the records that have already been accomplished."
Chezem holds a USSF 'B' coaching license and the United Soccer Coaches Premier coaching license. A CNU men's soccer recruit out of Montclair, Va., Chezem has made Newport News his home since graduating from Christopher Newport University with a degree in Business Marketing in 2005. A four-year player for the Captains, Chezem was a two-time All-Conference selection as a defender. He helped CNU post a combined record of 48-25-6 and register the fourth most shutouts in a season as a senior.
"I have been fortunate to call Christopher Newport University my home since 2001," Chezem added. "CNU is a one-of-a-kind institution with astounding athletic and academic traditions. I am excited to continue working with the athletic department, the Men's Soccer program, and our faithful alumni family."
Chezem and his wife Elizabeth have a son, Tucker, and reside in Newport News.