(Editor’s note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – After piloting the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer program for six seasons, head coach Alex Balog is leaving the program to take a post as an assistant coach at Villanova University, announced the athletic department on Monday.
Thomas Chameraud, who was the top assistant under Coach Balog for the past five years, was named the interim head coach and will lead the team through the fall 2019 season.
“Today is bittersweet for me, as Coach Balog was the first head coach I had the honor to hire,” said Yellowjacket athletic director Krista Montague. “I sincerely want to congratulate him and certainly wish him and his wife Eva all the best at Villanova. We thank Coach Balog for his more than eight years of commitment and tireless work with our men’s soccer program, department, and university. Not only did he make a positive impact on MSUB in his time here, he helped elevate soccer within our community and state by getting involved with club soccer and giving back to the community as much as possible. Coach Balog has laid a strong foundation for our men’s soccer program, and we will always be grateful to him for leaving it in a good place which we will be able to build upon.”
Balog begins his tenure at Villanova Monday, in an assistant role under head coach Tom Carlin. Villanova, which competes in the NCAA Division I Big East Conference, went 7-8-2 overall and 2-6-1 in league play during the fall 2018 season.
Chameraud, who completed his fifth year overall and third as the associate head coach during the fall of 2018, will assume head coaching duties effective immediately. He is a former all-region midfielder with the Yellowjackets, competing in 2011 and 2012 at MSUB. “I feel very privileged and honored to be given the opportunity to take up the interim head coaching position,” said Chameraud, a native of Poitiers, France. “I want to thank Alex Balog from the bottom of my heart. He has taught me a lot, and I am grateful for all he did for me during the last eight years working together. Playing and working for MSUB has been fantastic, and I couldn’t ask for a better environment to work in. I am thankful for the faith shown in my by Krista Montague, and I look forward to building a successful MSUB men’s soccer program.”
“We are excited that Coach Chameraud has accepted our offer to serve as interim head coach,” said Montague. “He is ready for this step in his career and is already very familiar with our program and conference. He will provide important stability and a smooth transition for our men’s soccer student-athletes and those recruits who have committed to us so far. We look forward to moving this program forward under his direction and leadership, and have confidence he can help the young men of our soccer program to graduate, compete at a high level, and ultimately become productive citizens of their communities someday.”
Beyond his contributions on the pitch guiding the Yellowjackets, Balog’s impact on the local community is perhaps where his legacy will be most admired. In the fall of 2014 he spearheaded a partnership with Team IMPACT to adopt Billings native Sebastien Easton into the program. A six-year-old battling cancer at the time, Sebastien has grown with the MSUB men’s soccer team, battled and defeated cancer, and remains a loyal member of the Yellowjackets more than five years later.
In 2016, MSUB commit Trevor Wildberger lost his life while putting forth a courageous battle with cancer. Balog dedicated MSUB’s annual Rimrock Classic tournament to the memory of Trevor Wildberger, and has honored the late goalkeeper by keeping his jersey No. 26 on the roster each of the last three seasons.
Balog was named the 2017 GNAC co-Coach of the Year after leading the team to wins over the top-three schools in the league and finishing in fourth place at 6-6 in conference play. His overall record as head coach at MSUB was 42-51-17 (.459) in six full seasons.
MSUB had its best season in Balog’s tenure in the fall of 2016, going 9-6-3 overall and 5-4-3 within the Great Northwest Athletic Conference to finish in fourth place. The Yellowjackets ranked second in goals scored with 40, and third in shutouts with six.
Leading MSUB to its first winning season since 2012 in 2015, the Yellowjackets took fourth place in the GNAC with an overall record 8-6-4 and a mark of 6-5-3 in league play. In 2012, Balog assisted on a Yellowjacket team that went 11-5-2 overall and notched a fourth place GNAC finish.
Prior to his time at MSUB, Balog was at NAIA soccer powerhouse Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was an assistant coach to Wulf Koch for two seasons (2009-10).
While in Alabama, Balog also coached for the Olympic Development Program and was the Director of Goalkeeping for the FC Torjager club based in Montgomery. He was also a head coach at Lamp High School where his team went 17-3, and was involved in numerous camps throughout the country.
Prior to his time at AUM, Balog played and coached at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. He played two seasons for the Buccaneers and then worked with the women’s program for one season as the goalkeeper coach. Balog has played soccer in Belgium, Hungary, Greece, England, and the U.S.