Tahlequah, Okla. – Northeastern State University has officially renamed its soccer complex as Dr. Dan F. DeLoache Field, honoring the vision of Dr. Dan DeLoache, the visionary coach who founded NSU's soccer program in 1981.
A new entry way will be formally unveiled with the first home match of the 2011 season, which marks the 30th anniversary of the men's program and the 15th of the women's.
"Of course DeLoache wanted his players to be successful in terms of wins and losses," said NSU President Don Betz. "But he always reinforced the primacy of academics and insisted the players represent the program and the university honorably on the pitch, in the classroom and on the road."
In 1981, DeLoache presented the NSU administration with a plan to become the first state-supported institution in Oklahoma to add men’s soccer as a varsity sport. Building upon his experience of establishing the youth soccer program in Cherokee County, DeLoache was called upon to implement the university’s soccer program. His first act was to recruit his friends Dr. Lee Quiett and Jim Malone to assist in this huge effort.
DeLoache, a professor in Northeastern State’s College of Education, served as head coach of the Redmen soccer team until 1993 when interim coach Brian Elliott handled the program for two years. In 1995, the reins were turned over in 1995 to Charlie Mitchell, a former professional soccer player/coach with the Tulsa Roughnecks. A year later, Northeastern State added women’s soccer to its roster of athletic programs under Mitchell’s direction. However, DeLoache remained an administrative assistant within the program. He formally retired a few years later, but still returns to the sidelines at every opportunity to watch the RiverHawks battle teams at the NCAA Division II level.
In the beginning of the program, DeLoache and the two assistant coaches had to handle every aspect of managing a team of athletes. For example, DeLoache obtained a license to drive the bus to get the team to away games. Plus, the coaches learned to be physical trainers. It was truly a family effort all to support his vision of a successful soccer program at NSU. Their wives helped by washing mountains of uniforms in their own laundry rooms and made endless sacks of sandwiches for long road trips. And their children even subbed as equipment managers.
The young program quickly became a recruiting magnet for soccer players in the region to further their playing careers and earn their degrees at a regional university. Among those players were DeLoache’s own son, Sam, and Quiett’s sons Ronnie and Roger.
The soccer venue has been called various names throughout its existence, including Redmen Soccer Complex and RiverHawks Pitch. When the women’s program was begun in 1996, it became known simply as the Northeastern State Soccer Complex.
Published: 4/29/2011 4:51:32 PM