A.D. welcomed to the community
Members of the community had an opportunity to meet new Cowley College athletic director Shane Larson and his family during a come-and-go event held Friday, April 18 inside W.S. Scott Auditorium.
Prior to coming to Cowley, Larson spent the previous three years as athletic director and head coach of the women’s basketball team at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, IL. In Larson’s first season at Kaskaskia the Blue Angels orchestrated an outstanding turn- around from the previous year, finishing the season at 23-9; more than tripling the 2010-11season win total. The Blue Angels finished tied for second in the Great Rivers Conference and received the No. 3 seed in the Region 24 Tournament.
In his second season Larson’s team took the next step by winning the Great Rivers Athletic Conference Regular Season Title, finishing second in the Region 24 Tournament and qualifying for the NJCAA National Tournament for only the second time in school history.
Larson’s 2012-13 team had a historic season as they finished the year with a 24-9 overall record and 13-3 mark in the Great Rivers Conference. The 13 conference wins secured the team the outright regular season conference championship. The Blue Angels went on to qualify for the NJCAA National Tournament with a win over rival Wabash Valley in the semi-finals of the Region 24 Tournament.
For his efforts, Larson was named Coach of the Year by the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) and was also named “Co-Coach of the Year” by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
This past season, Larson led Kaskaskia to a record of 27-5overall and 14-4 in the Great Rivers Conference.
At Kaskaskia College Larson oversaw the school’s 13 athletic programs, which will allow him a smooth transition to guide Cowley’s 15 athletic programs.
Larson started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. While at Bethany he helped lead the team to a pair of conference tournament championships, one regular season conference championship, two national tournament appearances with one Sweet 16 finish in 1999-2000 and a school record for most wins in a season with a 28-4 record. Larson then followed head coach Annette Wiles from Bethany to Fort Hays State University as a Graduate Assistant from 2000-2002. During that stint at FHSU Larson helped secure the first two recruiting classes that would go on to have three 20-win seasons in four years and secure Fort Hays State’s first NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance.
After completing his Master’s Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 2002 Larson left the college ranks to teach and coach at the high school level. After four years he returned to Fort Hays State as the primary assistant and recruiting coordinator. He is married to Jennie Larson. Jennie recently accepted a Physical Therapist position at William Newton Hospital in Winfield and the couple recently bought a home in Ark City.
The couple have a five year old son, Cash, who will start kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary in the fall.
Larson is proud to lead the Tiger athletic program.
“There are only a few great jobs out there and this is definitely one of them,” Larson said at the time of his hiring. “This is a job that everybody wants and I am honored the selection committee and administration have offered me this opportunity. To me Cowley is coming home. The Arkansas City community seems like a great place to raise our son.”
Prior to his time at Kaskaskia, Larson served as the head women’s basketball coach at Dana College in Blair, NE. While at Dana, Larson’s teams had the best academic record of any program in the country.