Bishop England boys’ soccer coach Ed Khouri is about to turn 73 years old, and there are days when he suspects Father Time might be catching up with him. Like the days when he looks at his current roster and reflects on the 1994 BE team, his first squad to win the state title.
Two players on this year’s team, freshmen Gabriel Conlin and Easton Khouri, are BE legacies. Their fathers played on that ’94 state championship team.
“I still get excited,” said Khouri who recorded his 500th career victory at the school on April 16 with a victory over rival Hanahan. “I’ll turn 73 in May, and yes, somehow, the physical part of me is still good. And the best part is that I’m enjoying it. As a coach and human being, I look forward to this. I am blessed to have a great AD and principal, but there will come a time when I won’t want to do this. But for now, I get excited when I get the chance to coach my former players’ kids.”
Khouri, a native of Jamaica, is only the third BE coach to top 500 victories. Girls’ basketball coach Paul Runey is first with 736 victories, while volleyball coach Kathy Blacman retired with 500 victories.
Khouri is the main force in the Bishops’ 17 all-time state titles, which is best in Palmetto State history. He was named Adidas NSCAA national coach of the year in 2007.
His 500th victory put the affable coach in a select fraternity of boys’ soccer coaches in South Carolina, becoming only the fifth coach to reach the milestone. Phil Savitz of River Bluff is the all-time leader with 634 victories heading into the 2021 season.
“When I first started, something like this was never on my mind,” Khouri said. “Soccer is my game, and I’m pretty intense in my game. My main focus is the game, the one we’re playing right now. That’s it.”
Khouri laughed when he reached a milestone a few years ago, and the school’s booster club made a big deal of the special victory.
“I laughed and said to myself, ‘Maybe I should hang around and get to 500.’ But that’s not why you coach. It’s not because of the fame and fortune.”
Bishop England is not Khouri’s only long-term commitment. He and his wife Beverly have been married for 49 years. And their anniversary was Friday, the same night as his 500th victory.
“You have to be compatible,” Khouri said with a laugh. “She used to watch me play. She understands the coaching part of it. But soccer is part of our family, something we can celebrate.”
Khouri, who was an assistant with the Charleston Battery, is also the founder of the Daniel Island Soccer Academy (DISA), which was started just a little over a decade ago. Khouri said Matt Sloan, a major figure in the development of Daniel Island, encouraged him to start the program.
“It was going to be for the residents and the kids,” Khouri said of DISA. “The idea was for the kids to ride their bikes down the road and play soccer. Today, I get a laugh when I see a little girl riding her bike. She arrives at the field, jumps off her bike and plays soccer. It’s great to see an idea come to fruition.”
Although Khouri is the coach at BE, he wears a different hat as a DISA coach.
“I am currently working with the 14(U) team,” Khouri said. “There are five players on the Philip Simmons junior varsity who play for me. It’s been great to watch the program develop and unfold.”