Rocky Larson, the defensive coordinator for the UW-River Falls football team the past four seasons, has been named as the head football coach at Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D. He was scheduled to begin his duties as head coach at Mayville on Tuesday.
Larson is a 2010 graduate of Somerset High School. He is part of a coaching family. His father, Bruce, has been the varsity football coach in Somerset for more than 20 years. His younger brother, Reggie, has been the varsity football coach in New Richmond the past two seasons.
Mayville State athletic director Ryan Hall said “He is ready for the challenge as head coach for the Comets, and will lead the charge to improve upon Mayville State football. He'll hit the ground running so we'll be ready for the 2020 season."
Before coming to UW-River Falls, Larson was the defensive back coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He also coached in several roles while doing his undergraduate work at UW-River Falls. Larson graduated from the UW-River Falls in 2014 with a degree in Exercise Sport Science. In 2016, he earned his master's degree in Athletic Administration/Coaching from Concordia Irvine University.
Larson said Monday that Mayville State is an NAIA program that is able to offer scholarships. He said he will have three full-time staff members under him. He’s already got one of those positions filled, as Falcon run game coordinator Jake Litecky will join him as Mayville’s defensive coordinator. Larson said he’s currently looking to find the right person to become the offensive coordinator. Larson, who was a quarterback in high school, said it was important to have two coordinators, so he can be equally involved in coaching the offense and defense.
Larson went through a condensed interview process in getting the job. He only applied 15 days before he was hired. Within two days of applying, he received a phone interview. Several days later, he did an in-person interview and was offered the job shortly after. Larson said the process was hurried because the university wanted a coach in place by this Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent signing period.
There are only 37 players currently on the roster at Mayville, so Larson said he will be recruiting heavily between now and June to fill out the roster. He said with his numerous ties in western Wisconsin, he will be recruiting this area heavily.
Mayville went 2-8 last year. Larson said the chance to build a program from the ground up, plus to become a college head coach at the age of 28, made this an appealing opportunity for him.
“The financial resources are there. I can build a staff the way I want it,” he said.
Mayville is similar in size to Somerset, being one of the smallest communities in the country with a college football program. It’s located 45 minutes from Fargo or Grand Forks and less than five hours from Somerset.