The University of the Ozarks will add men’s and women’s swimming to its roster of sports beginning in 2016-2017, and the school has named its first head coach.
University of the Ozarks is a Division III school in Clarksville, Arkansas that will now field 17 varsity sports with the additions of men’s and women’s swimming.
The school has hired David DeGeus as its head coach for the inaugural seasons, which begin next fall.
DeGeus is a former swimmer at UNLV and Henderson State University, and has most recently been assistant coaching at Henderson State. He’s also been the head coach of the Central Arkansas Swim Club since 2011 and has previous experience at North Little High school as well.
University of the Ozarks is only about 60 miles from the border of Oklahoma, and DeGeus suggested that area could be a big recruiting hotspot for the fledgling program.
“There are a lot of Oklahoma high school swimmers who want to compete collegiately,” he said in the team’s press release. “But the opportunities are limited there. And, Arkansas has a number of talented swimmers that I will be recruiting as well.”
DeGeus originally hails from Edmond, Oklahoma.
The full University of the Ozarks press release is below:
Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks is adding women’s and men’s swimming to its NCAA Division III intercollegiate programs and has hired David DeGeus to coach the new teams, which will begin competing in 2016-2017.
With the addition of women’s and men’s swimming, the university will increase its NCAA Division III varsity sports offered to 17.
“We are excited to announce the addition of women’s and men’s swimming to our intercollegiate programs and that David DeGeus will be our first head coach,” said U of O Athletics Director Jimmy Clark. “This is another opportunity for us to grow enrollment through athletics and provide an additional avenue for student-athletes to compete and receive an outstanding education. David has a considerable amount of experience with a wide skillset. Around the state, he has an excellent reputation as a coach. He has recruiting ties in Oklahoma and Arkansas. There are only a few collegiate swim programs in those states, so that is a tremendous opportunity for us.”
DeGeus, who swam at University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Henderson State University (HSU), has over 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate, High School, USA Club Swimming, US Masters and youth summer league levels. Prior to Ozarks, DeGeus was an undergraduate assistant coach at HSU and has been the head coach of Clarksville’s branch of the Central Arkansas Swim Club (CASC) racers since 2011. He also served as the assistant coach of the CASC Racers in North Little Rock from 2009-2011 and as a volunteer coach at North Little High School for two years.
“This is a great opportunity to be a part of the process of building a collegiate swim program,” said DeGeus. “I hope that our program demonstrates the ideal student-athlete. Swimmers in general are strong students and very dedicated. I want student-athletes who fit the campus as a whole and the team. I want them committed academically.”
DeGeus expects to eventually have a combined women’s and men’s roster size of 30-40 swimmers.
“There are a lot of Oklahoma high school swimmers who want to compete collegiately,” he said. “But the opportunities are limited there. And, Arkansas has a number of talented swimmers that I will be recruiting as well.”
“U of O is small and has a low student-to-faculty ratio,” said DeGeus. “Our student-athletes will appreciate the one-on-one attention from the professors. The university upholds a Christian environment, but religion is not forced here, and I believe young people value that. And, the beautiful natural setting is one of the reasons I chose Arkansas.”
In the last two years, Ozarks has added seven NCAA Division III varsity sports as well as competitive cheer/STUNT and women’s and men’s clay target shooting.
“This is an exciting time of growth in our department,” said Clark. “Not only are we adding sports, but we are improving our infrastructure. Our goal is to attract top-notch student-athletes and our administration is committing to improve the facilities. We will continue to grow as there are other sports we could add down the road.”
There are 23 events in swimming (18 individual events and five relays) and the collegiate season begins in October and ends in March. Ozarks will train and host meets at Clarksville’s multi-million dollar aquatic facility.
DeGeus was a standout swimmer at HSU, earning a combined seven All-America honors in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke and 200 and 400 medley relays. He won the conference championship in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke as a senior and set the school’s 100-yard breaststroke (56.62) record. DeGeus represented HSU in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Division II national championships, placing sixth in the 200, while helping the program to its highest finish ever (eighth) at the national championships.
Originally from Edmond, Oklahoma, DeGeus starred at Edmond Memorial High School where he was a state finalist in the 100-yard breaststroke in each of his four years. DeGeus also helped his 200 freestyle relay team to a state championship.
DeGeus and his wife, Angela, are the parents of two children.