Brian Harvey is the first and only head soccer coach at OCU.
But before he was coaching, he was a professional soccer player himself.
Harvey played for the Dallas Tornadoes in 1968 and traveled the globe playing 38 games in six months, according to the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics website, naia.org.
The Tornadoes were a member of the North American Soccer League.
“I’ve been a professional player and when I couldn’t play anymore it was like an extension,” Harvey said. “I became a coach because it’s the sport I love. It’s been a big part of my life.”
Harvey was born in Liverpool in 1947 and first came to the United States to play for the Tornadoes. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., with a physical education degree, according to the OCU sports website, ocusports.com.
He became the head coach for Oklahoma City’s former professional soccer team, the Oklahoma City Slickers, in 1982.
Under his coaching, the team went to the championships where they lost, but Harvey was named the 1982 Coach of the Year, according to the American Soccer History Archives.
The team eventually disbanded and in 1985 Harvey started recruiting for the OCU men’s soccer team.
“The team went bankrupt and I was working for Coca-Cola as their youth market manager and OCU was one of our accounts,” Harvey said. “I was fortunate enough to have a good relationship with the athletic director, who invited me to put the team together.”
The first men’s team started with about 17 members, he said.
“We fielded our first team in 1986,” Harvey said. “It was quite difficult, but I had a lot of contacts in the Dallas area, so I was fortunate enough to get several very good players out of the Dallas area and the rest of the boys were local.”
The women’s team was started in 1995.
Senior Forward Ailee Thompson knew about Harvey before enrolling at OCU and actually came to school here because of his reputation, she said.
“Being coached by Brian Harvey is an absolute privilege,” Thompson said. “Everybody in the OKC soccer world knows who he is. He has kind of been the godfather of soccer in our state and it’s safe to say that if you mention his name, most people know him for his reputation.”
Since becoming head coach at OCU, Harvey has achieved even more accomplishments.
Harvey has the most men’s and women’s victories of any soccer coach in NAIA history.
He also was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame and the OCU Athletic Hall of Fame.
He also recently picked up his 725th career victory, making his record 725-277-60.
“I feel very honored,” Harvey said. “It’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers, so I feel very honored and I feel thankful to all the players that have done such a good job for me.”
Harvey is married and has a daughter who played soccer for OCU and was his student assistant.
He has more than 30 years of coaching experience and said seeing students grow and develop is one of the best parts of his job.
“He pushes me not only to be the best player that I can be, but he also encourages us to have good sportsmanship and respect for each other, other players, and the beautiful game,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t play soccer anymore, but he has never stopped competing. His demeanor alone makes you want to do your best. We all want to make his day with a victory on that scoreboard.”
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