By Rob Kiser
Steve Lyman was no different than any other Piqua Lyman.
The family’s “Legacy of Success” in Piqua athletics is well known.
And just when he appeared poised to be the next family member to star on the gridiron, the PHS soccer program got the “break” it needed.
Football’s loss was soccer’s gain and it didn’t stop until an amazing career at University of Findlay was completed for Piqua’s first true star on the soccer pitch.
Lyman was honored for those achievements Sunday when he was inducted into the University of Findlay soccer “Wall of Fame”.
“To be honest, I never gave it a lot of thought,” Lyman said. “They just started it three years ago. It was a little bit of a surprise, but I know I still have some records from more than 20 years ago, so that is pretty good.”
Growing up, Lyman never met a sport he didn’t love and he excelled at all of them.
“I played every sport I got a chance as a kid,” Lyman said. “I enjoyed all of them.”
That included football.
“I played football in eighth grade and had a great junior high career,” Lyman said. “Then, I broke my arm.”
A number of Lyman’s friends encouraged him to play soccer when he got to high school.
“They kept telling me to play soccer and I ended up starting as a freshman,” Lyman said. “At that point, I thought this is the road we are going.”
Lyman excelled from the start, setting Piqua school records for goals in a season and career and he knew he wanted to continue at the next level — and after playing for four coaches in four years, Lyman was looking for some stability at the coaching level.
“Findlay’s coach is a British guy (Andy Smyth) who really knew soccer,” Lyman said. “He recruited a lot of guys from the Dayton area. I knew a lot of those guys and had played against them. I knew I was going to learn a lot about soccer.”
Smyth had a little different approach when he came to soccer.
“He was a defensive guy,” Lyman said. “I was the only forward on the team my four years there. He played a lot of guys on defense. His philosophy was to play defense and if we happen to score a goal and win 1-0 that was great.”
The numbers Lyman put up at Findlay speak for themselves.
Lyman who graduated from UF in 1995 with a degree in physical education and health, holds school records for most assists in a game (3 versus Bluffton in 1992), most assists in a season (10 in in 1992) and points in a season (38 in 1992). He also holds the career assists record with 20. Only two other players have scored more than Steve’s 14 goals in a season while his 28 career goals put him in fourth place, as does his 76 career points. In 1992, Steve was selected Second Team All-District 22.
“I never looked at it that way (being successful),” Lyman said. “I was a kid from Piqua who went out and played the game hard and competed as hard as I could. I didn’t like to lose. I was determined we were going to win every game.”
All that hard work was rewarded on Sunday.
“It is going to be exciting,” Lyman said last week. “I talked to my coach (Andy Smyth is still the Findlay men’s soccer coach) and he was pretty happy about it. I haven’t been up to Findlay for a soccer game in a long time. It is going to be a great experience.”
And one that is well deserved after Lyman made the most of a “break” that led to the soccer pitch.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-334.