Release Date: 5/28/1999
CLARKSVILLE, Ark. --- David De Hart, who has 20 years of coaching experience including successful junior college stints in California and Kansas, has been named the new men's and women's soccer coach at University of the Ozarks.
De Hart, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from La Salle University in Louisiana, led Neosha (Kansas) County Community College to the 1998 junior college Region VI women's championship in the program's first year of existence. His Neosha men's team was Region VI runner-up in 1998 in its first year of existence. He also coached the men's team at Modesto (Calif.) Junior College from 1993-95, leading the program to a 10-3-3 record in 1995, the best mark in the program's 75-year history.
"David brings a very impressive resume of playing and coaching experience to Ozarks," said Ozarks Athletic Director Jack Jones. "His credentials should not only help our programs, but also help soccer in this area and in Arkansas."
De Hart said the opportunity to coach at an NCAA program lured him to Ozarks. The university, which competes in the non-athletic scholarship NCAA Division III, started the soccer programs four years ago.
"This is a step up from junior college, plus it's a beautiful area and campus here," he said. "The other nice thing about Ozarks is that it's really keyed on the student-athlete, not just the athlete. Athletics comes second here, and that's fine with me. These kids here, for the most part, aren't going to be making a living playing professional soccer, so academics is the most important thing."
De Hart, who has a national "A" coaching license with the United States Soccer Federation, has written a book on soccer: "Teaching and Understanding Soccer Goalkeeping." He describes himself as a player's coach.
"Players enjoy playing for me and they play hard for me because I respect what they do on the field," he said. "I understand that good players make good coaches."
De Hart has 10 years of professional coaching and training, including a year as the head coach of the Stanislaus Cruiser of the United States International Soccer League, a division 3 professional league. He said he has no rigid coaching philosophy.
"Our style will be determined by our athletes' abilities," he said. "I prefer a possession-type style, but that's not always the best style with the team you have. I like teams that can play different styles and that can adjust to different situations."
At Ozarks, De Hart will inherit a men's team that is coming off a 10-8-2 record, the first winning season in the program's history. The women's team is also coming off its best record, 6-14-1.
"Obviously, the programs here are on their way up and it's my job to keep that going," De Hart said. "I'm excited about coming into a young but strong program where the expectations are relatively high. Our goal is to make the (American Southwest Conference) playoffs next year and to be able to compete year in and year out for the conference championship.
De Hart plans to hold soccer camps this summer as well as coaching clinics in an effort to promote the sport in the River Valley.
"If we can get some people turned on to soccer, it's going to help youth leagues around here as well as our program," he said. "I'd like to see this area get more involved in soccer because it's a great sport."