UST Women's Soccer Welcomes Head Coach Nataki Stewart '14
University of St. Thomas-Houston Athletics is excited to announce the hiring of Nataki Stewart '14 as the next Women's Soccer Head Coach. After a nationwide search, Coach Stewart quickly became a top candidate to be the next leader for UST Women's Soccer. Coach Stewart, also a UST alumnus, will return to the school as the third head coach in program history.
"First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Athletic Directors Todd Smith and Nik Barjaktarevic and the entire search committee for entrusting me with this most singular honor," Coach Stewart said. "Leading the women's soccer program at UST is a career-defining opportunity. This is not just about soccer as my family gets the chance to return to a university where I graduated as a student athlete, met my wife, and helped start the women's soccer program."
The Stewart Story
Nataki Stewart is a native of Westmoreland, Jamaica, and brings a wealth of coaching experience to the role. As a player, Coach Stewart played for the St. Thomas Celts from 2012-2014. He was named NAIA scholar athlete and helped lead the program to its first-ever national tournament appearance in 2013. After graduating from the University of St. Thomas in 2014, he immediately began his MBA. While in pursuit of his master's, he was part of the very first UST women's soccer coaching staff under Head Coach, now Assistant Athletic Director, Nikola Barjakterevic. The Celts amassed a record of 19-11-5 and made it to the conference championship in 2015. After completing his MBA in 2016, Coach Stewart served as an assistant coach at Division I powerhouse Stephen F. Austin. With Stewart's help, the Ladyjacks reached back-to-back conference finals and produced four professional players. The team also received multiple academic awards. After a great career at SFA, Coach Stewart was led to Murray State College (2018-2020), where he had his first opportunity to be a head coach. Under his leadership, the Aggies amassed a record of 14-4-1 in the 2019 season and a place in the Region semi-final while producing seven NJCAA Academic All-Americans. His success at Murray State then brought him to Angelina College, his home for the last two seasons as the men's and women's head coach. While at Angelina, the Roadrunners and Lady Roadrunners ranked 6th and 12th, respectively, in the country and produced five All-Americans. Then when the dust settled after two historic seasons, the women's team finished with a record of 26-8-1, while the men's teams finished with a 29-7-2 and a place in the 2022 National Tournament.
"We are very excited to welcome Coach Stewart back to the UST Athletics family. Once a Celt, always a Celt," Athletic Director Todd Smith added. "Nataki was an integral part of building our Women's Soccer program and now he is back to rebuild the program. We believe we have some talented young student athletes on our Women's Soccer team, and we are hoping it will not take long for this program to regain our winning ways. Coach Stewart understands what it takes to be successful socially, academically and athletically at St. Thomas."
A New Era of Women's Soccer
After officially joining NCAA Division III this year, women's soccer made a splash ranking No. 6 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The team notched four victories, the highest since joining the league in 2019. Furthermore, with many underclassmen taking point for the Celts, the future is bright for UST women's soccer. Under Stewart's leadership, he wants to foster a relationship-based environment by recruiting and developing well-educated and competitive student athletes and ultimately resulting in a collective effort toward establishing and nurturing a championship culture.
"I cannot wait to reunite with our community, alumni and team as we build a program of excellence," Coach Stewart added. "It is genuinely humbling and we are excited to return home."
Head Coach Nataki Stewart will begin his duties immediately for the Celts this spring. Follow ustcelts.com for more updates on UST Women's Soccer!