Hesston College athletic director Rob Ramseyer announced the hiring of Matt Gerlach as head coach of the Larks men’s soccer program. Gerlach succeeds Michael Armstrong, who served as head coach for the past two seasons and who led the program in the 2015 season to its most season wins in 11 years.
“Joining the coaching staff at Hesston College is a really exciting opportunity for me,” said Gerlach. “The college’s mission to ‘educate and nurture each student within Christ-centered community, integrating thought, life and faith for service to others in the church and the world’ really speaks to why I have been coaching over the last nine years and my heart for student-athletes. At Hesston, I will be allowed to invest in the lives of young people who are willing and excited about making a positive change in the world for Christ – we will just happen to be playing soccer, too.”
Gerlach has extensive experience both as a player and coach from youth leagues through collegiate programs. As a player, he was a four-year starter at NAIA competitor Huntington (Ind.) University, as well as team captain during his senior year.
For more than eight years, Gerlach has been coaching soccer at both the high school and college level. He has served as varsity girls’ soccer at Rutherford High School (Panama City, Fla.) since 2012, restoring the program from nine players to more than 50 and gaining regional success. Gerlach also served as assistant men’s soccer coach at Huntington University for two years, helping the program to a NAIA national ranking. For more than 10 years he has organized and coached youth leagues and camps in several states.
“We are excited to welcome Matt and his family to Hesston College,” said Ramseyer. “His experience and commitment to Christian higher education is most evident, and his ability to mentor and lead our student-athletes will continue to strengthen and build on the work of Michael Armstrong.”
Gerlach earned a bachelor’s of science in recreation and sports ministry from Huntington University, and is working toward a master’s of education in coaching from Ohio University (Athens), with anticipated completion of June 2016. He also has a diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (Kansas City, Kan.).
Since 2009, Gerlach has served as minister of recreation and director of digital media for First United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., where he establishes and directs recreational programming, including sports leagues, craft shows, art programs, community civic events and more. He previously served as program director for Huntington (Ind.) Parks and Recreation.