“I grew up watching him play for the Wichita Wings from a really young age,” Eno said. “My parents were season ticket holders and they would take me and my brother and my sister to the games. I mean as young as two years old we were going to games and we’d change into our pajamas at halftime and be asleep by the end of the game.
“Watching LeBaron he was a legend back then.”
Eno continued to follow Hollimon as he got older.
“He has a son (DeBray) that’s a year younger than me,” he said. “We played against each other in clubs and then (LeBaron) went out to California to coach.”
Eno played soccer at Maize High School then signed with Tabor but his college career never really got started after suffering an injury. A comeback attempt also was short circuited by an injury.
Eno, though, had no intentions of quitting the game.
“I knew that I wasn’t done with soccer, I’m just passionate about it,” he said. “I had the game taken away from me, I wasn’t able to play it like I wanted to. I think playing soccer in college is a great opportunity for guys to be a part of something a little bit bigger.”
Eno started coaching club teams in Wichita and later spent two years coaching at Buhler High School. Then came an opportunity he knew he had to pursue – an opening at KWU under new head coach LeBaron Hollimon.
“Once LeBaron became the head coach here I knew that he’d be a great coach to learn from and so I contacted him,” he said. “I was like ‘I’m interested in coming up and being your graduate assistant’ and it happened to work out.”
Given the opportunity to hire a full-time assistant during the offseason Hollimon didn’t look far. Eno enters 2022 as Hollimon’s full-time aide.
“He applied for the job and when I interviewed him you could just tell he was young and eager to be in a situation where he could learn to be a coach at the collegiate level,” Hollimon said.
Eno learned plenty in his first year and plans to do more of the same this fall.
“I think what sticks out the most to me is how detail oriented he is,” Eno said of his boss. “He has everything planned out and how he wants it to be. If guys aren’t following and doing what they’re supposed to do then he’s going hold him to that standard.
“When I first came in I told LeBaron ‘I’m going to treat this as if I’m a full-time assistant.’ I was out helping them recruit last year and he involved me in most decisions that were made.”
Eno said his job won’t change much except for some additional responsibilities within the athletic department and university. One of his primary responsibilities will continue to be an advocate for the players but ever mindful of the big picture.
“It can be a little bit delicate,” he said. “In some instances, I’m only a couple years older than some of the guys so I can talk to them as if they are somebody that’s one of my friends. But at the same time there still has to be that level of respect there, that I’m one of their coaches and when I tell them something needs to be done they do it.”
“He has the ability to communicate but be professional,” Hollimon said of Eno. “Communicate in a way that’s in line with what I’m thinking and how I think things should be done and how I articulate things.”
Hollimon appreciates the message Eno conveys based on his experiences a player.
“He tells them be grateful for what you have and the opportunity you have in front of you,” he said. “Be appreciative of what you have.”
Wesleyan was picked 11th in the Kansas Conference coaches’ preseason poll but Eno disagrees.
“Being picked 11th we’ve already had guys that have reached out and said that’s disrespectful,” he said. “They feel disrespected because there are several teams that were picked ahead of us that we beat last year.
“We saw towards the end when we started winning and had everybody available on the field, just what we were capable of. A lot of that was freshmen stepping up into bigger roles. They’re coming back and you add in that we were able to go out and recruit guys that we think are going to fit the program well and want to come in and work hard.”
In Eno’s mind the pieces are in place for an improved season in 2022.
“I think it’s all about just getting the guys on the same page and being willing to be disciplined enough to play the style of soccer that we’re coaching,” he said. “I think the rest will take care of itself.”