Rogers State University has taken the first major step towards the implementation of its new soccer program with the announcement of its first head soccer coach.
RSU Athletic Director Wren Baker named Tulsa native Derek Larkin the program’s first head coach on Thursday. Larkin will be charged with leading both the men’s and women’s teams as they compete for the first time in 2007.
“I am pleased that Coach Larkin will be joining our staff and coaching the soccer programs,” Baker said. “We received many quality applications from all over the country, but we felt like Derek was the ideal candidate. With his experience and knowledge, I believe he will have the RSU soccer teams competitive very quickly. He is a quality coach and a quality person and I know he will be terrific in shaping our soccer student-athletes as players and as people.”
Larkin joins the Hillcats after serving as the head boy’s soccer coach at Bishop Kelley High School the past three years. He led the Comets to back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006.
“I’m honored to be named the first head soccer coach at RSU,” Larkin said. “I’m really excited about the future of RSU soccer and the potential to build a very successful program here. The level of interest I have already received from the community and prospective student-athletes has been overwhelming.”
Larkin previously served as the head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Bacone College from 2002 to 2004. He was named the Red River Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading the Lady Warriors to the conference championship.
Larkin also juggled “double duty” as both the men’s and women’s head soccer coach at Missouri Valley College from 1997 to 1999 and at Catoosa High School from 1999 to 2002. He compiled six district championships at Catoosa and was honored as the head coach of the Oklahoma All-State team in 2002.
Larkin currently serves as the head coach of three girl’s teams for the Tulsa Nationals Soccer Club and is the former director of coaching for the Oklahoma Revolution Soccer Club. He collected Directors Cup Oklahoma State Championships in 2004 and 2005 with his ‘87 and ‘88 girl’s club teams, respectively.
RSU announced its plans to add soccer for the 2007-08 academic year in November 2006 and began the search for its first coach shortly thereafter. The Hillcat soccer teams will compete as members of the Sooner Athletic Conference and will play a full conference schedule in 2007.
RSU gained acceptance into the SAC in September 2006 and is scheduled to join league play in soccer, basketball, baseball and softball in 2007-08. The SAC is widely regarded as the premiere conference in the NAIA. The Hillcats became an NAIA member institution during 2005-06 academic year and currently compete in Region VI.