Derek Larson has been named the new athletic director at Aberdeen Roncalli.
Larson recently guided the Cavaliers to the Class A state girls’ basketball championship. He plans to remain on as the head coach and said his regular job duties won’t change a great deal.
“I am the STREAM lab facilitator at our elementary school. I’m still going to be doing that. I’m still going to coach girls’ basketball,” Larson said.
When asked what attracted him to the position, Larson responded, “I guess I have a passion for athletics and activities. Obviously, I have a deep respect for the two guys who did it previous, Mark (Stone) and Terry (Dosch), who are no longer going to be doing it. I also have a deep respect for our school system. I want to do the best job I can to help support all the activities that our school has to offer.”
Roncalli is in a bit of unique situation in that it offers many activities that schools of similar size do not.
“We are a smaller school, but we are in a larger city for a smaller school,” Larson said, “so I think our school probably offers more activities than most schools that are our size for sure.”
The list of activities continues to grow. There are more things now than say when longtime athletic director Tom Murphy held the position.
“We’ve added some things over the last couple of years that we hadn’t had when ‘Murph’ was around, robotics and Esports and some things like that,” Larson said. “I’m going to try to get to as many things as I can that my schedule provides. Even though I’m a girls’ basketball coach, I want to make sure that everyone that I deal with hopefully feels supported on my end.”
First up is the matter of finding a new boys’ basketball coach. Rick Kline filled the position on an interim basis late in the season.
“The boys’ basketball job is open currently. We’re seeking applications for that. I think we’ll leave that open until it’s filled for sure,” Larson said. “The boys’ basketball program in its history has made a lot of noise, whether it’s at the local Northeast level or even the state level. Hopefully, we get some good applicants for that position.”
Larson anticipates that process to wrap up in the next few weeks.
Larson undertands that his new AD position will be a work in progress as he learns the nuances of the job.
“It’s going to be a learning curve. Going from what I’ve done in the past to now what I’m going to be doing” he said. “I have two great people that are kind of mentoring me through this to start. They have given up a lot of their own time already to walk me through some things. I think that will probably continue through of the rest of the school year for sure. I think it’s a thing that you’re probably learning every single day. We’re really looking forward to that part of it, learning new things, meeting new people and trying to move all our sports programs from where they are into the future.”
Roncalli football coach Billy Young will help Larson with the athletic director duties.
“Billy Young is going to be my assistant. We’re going to be working together a lot,” Larson said. “We have a great relationship. He’s a person that’s really organized and I think will do a great job as the two of us work together.”
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