Hylton Dayes Head Coach
Entering his 27th season as a collegiate head coach in 2017, Hylton Dayes has compiled a diverse background of experience as both a successful coach and an accomplished player while becoming the longest-tenured coach at the University of Cincinnati.
Dayes is gearing up for his 17th season as head coach at Cincinnati but his 32nd in the college coaching ranks. He has served as a head coach for 26 seasons, during which time he has compiled a 222-221-61 record. He led the Bearcats to their third-ever appearance in the NCAA championships in 2006 and has put together a 125-136-42 mark as UC’s head coach, good for No. 1 on the Bearcats’ wins list. As an assistant coach, Dayes helped develop teams that made three appearances in the NCAA championships. As a player, he earned all-America honors in all four seasons of competition as Wright State University.
Highlighted by NCAA Tournament teams in 2003 and ‘06, Dayes has guided the Bearcats during a pair of conference transitions, first from Conference USA to the BIG EAST and now into the American Athletic Conference. Most recently, in 2016, he led the Bearcats to a 9-7-1 overall record and a tie for fourth-place in the consistently-strong The American -- UC's most total wins since 2007. He also oversaw four postseason all-conference selections including Midfielder of the Year Adam Wilson, second team all-league pick Patrick Nielsen, and all-rookie team members Ryan Melink and David Sanz. The 2016 Bearcats also recorded the program's highest-ever team GPA of 3.195.
Cincinnati has made the conference tournament in five of the last seven seasons. In 2010, the Bearcats advanced to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the first time in school history and posted a final record of 7-5-7 overall. UC knocked off No. 5 Connecticut in penalties in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals and set a school record for goals against average with a 0.68 GAA.
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In 2008, Dayes led one of the youngest teams in Division I soccer to a BIG EAST Tournament berth, UC’s fourth in four years as a member of the elite conference. UC posted a 7-10-2 overall mark playing a torturous schedule, which included matches against eight ranked opponents. The Bearcats fielded a team with 17 newcomers and first-year starters in nine positions.
Dayes’ 2007 squad qualified for its third straight BIG EAST Tournament and won its first conference tournament match, a 2-0 win at Providence. Kenny Anaba became the third straight first-team all-BIG EAST selection and the fourth Bearcat to be drafted by an MLS team, as he was selected in the supplemental draft by Real Salt Lake.
Dayes led UC to a BIG EAST Red Division title in 2006, just the second season in the prestigious league for the Bearcats. UC earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament after finishing 11-5-2 during the regular season and reaching as high as No. 14 in the national rankings. Dayes tutored Omar Cummings, who earned first-team all-America honors, the first player in school history to do so. Cummings then became the third Bearcat to be drafted by a Major League Soccer franchise under Dayes’ watch when he was chosen by the Colorado Rapids in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.
In 2005, Dayes led the Bearcats to a 10-7-2 overall record and a third-place finish in conference play. UC was ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation and reached the BIG EAST Tournament in the school’s first year affiliated with the conference.
During the first three seasons in the BIG EAST, the Bearcats won a division title, earned seven postseason all-conference awards, and made an NCAA appearance. Dayes has authored six wins against nationally-ranked opponents over the last three seasons, including a victory against No. 1 Connecticut in 2005.
Justin Ferguson Assistant Coach
Justin Ferguson will enter his third season as assistant coach with the University of Cincinnati men’s soccer program in 2017. Ferguson came to Cincinnati following two seasons as an assistant at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
Ferguson spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb, while also serving as director of coaching for recreation with the Greater Cleveland County Soccer Association and as a coach with the North Carolina Olympic Development Program. He holds a B-license from the United States Soccer Federation, as well as level one and two goalkeeping certification from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and is currently completing his premier diploma from the NSCAA. Ferguson also worked with the Westminster Association Football Club as Youth Academy Coordinator and coached for Happyfeet Charlotte. His coaching experience extends to several camp settings, including elite college identification camps at Gardner-Webb and North Carolina.
The Denver, Colorado, native played collegiately at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a four-time All-Academic Team selection while playing in 54 matches. He recorded a pair of goals and three assists during his senior season before spending one year playing at Division II Queens University in Charlotte. He played professional soccer for the Springfield Demize of the Premier Development League and participated in the USL Pro Combine in 2012 before moving into coaching.
Ferguson earned a bachelor’s of science in video production from Belmont in 2010 and has completed a master’s of arts in sport science and pedagogy from Gardner-Webb.
Taylor Thames Assistant Coach
Taylor Thames will enter his third season as an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati in 2017. Thames joined the Bearcats following stints in a similar role at Stony Brook and Mount St. Mary’s.
Thames spent two years at Stony Brook as an assistant coach. He assisted in recruiting, while overseeing equipment, travel, the program’s budget and NCAA compliance records. He also prepared and executed the conditioning and recovery programs, as well as team training with a specific emphasis on the goalkeepers.
Prior to his time on Long Island, Thames served in a similar capacity at Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland. In three seasons there, he oversaw recruiting, as well as the design and implementation of training again with oversight of the keepers. In addition, Thames was responsible for community and alumni outreach and he worked with student-athletes to oversee their class schedules and provide academic support.
Thames also has extensive youth experience, serving as head coach of the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association’s (MSYSA) U-17 team and head coach for F.C. Frederick’s U-15 squad. He was instrumental in coaching the keepers with both groups, serving as assistant director of goalkeeping for MSYSA and director of goalkeeping at F.C. Frederick. He has a B-level coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation and a goalkeeping diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, while he is also a grade 8 referee with FIFA.
A native of the Washington, D.C., area, Thames played collegiately at Delaware where he was a four-year letterwinner and recorded 10 career clean sheets at keeper. Twice a Dean’s List honoree, he graduated from Delaware in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Jordan Grant Director of Operations
Jordan Grant joined the UC staff in January 2017. Previously, he coached three seasons as an assistant with the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s soccer program. Grant arrived at MVNU after spending 2013 as an assistant coach at Taylor University (Ind.). He has additional coaching experience with the U17 boys Classics Eagles out of Columbus, Ohio and is currently coaching with the Northern Kentucky Soccer Academy Pro 03 and 01 boys teams.
Grant had an outstanding collegiate playing career at Taylor from 2011-12 and played at NCAA Division II Northern Kentucky University from 2009-11.
At Taylor, Grant was a starting winger, a second team all-conference selection, and helped his team to an appearance in the NAIA national tournament and a Crossroads Conference championship. In addition, Grant was part of a national championship team at NKU, scoring a goal in the national title game. Additional playing experience included stints with the PDL’s Cincinnati Dutch Lions, Bridges FC, and Cincinnati United Premier Super 20’s.
Grant earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in history from Taylor University in 2013 and has completed a masters of science in management from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 2017.
He holds his National C license from the United States Soccer Federation and his NSCAA GK 1 certificate from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. In the offseason, Grant helped coach the 2001 ODP State Boys team.
Grant married his wife Stephanie in July of 2014.