Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2003

THS names former Nebraska prep standout

Rockhurst goalie walked on for Huskers in freshman year, was high school player of year

May 14, 2003

Tonganoxie High has tapped into a pretty strong bloodline for its next soccer coach.

Former Rockhurst goalie Luke Denney, whose father and sister are collegiate coaches, was named as the school's second soccer coach Monday during the district's school board meeting.

Denney's roots come from a thick coaching tree that starts with Luke's father, Mike Denney, who completed his 24th year as the Nebraska-Omaha wrestling coach.

Luke's sister Mikki was an all-state Nebraska soccer selection her sophomore, junior and senior seasons at Marion, Neb., in the early 1990s.

She played NCAA Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina her freshman and sophomore years and helped guide the Tar Heels to two Atlantic Coast Conference and two national championships.

Mikki then transferred to the University of Minnesota, where she helped the Golden Gophers to capture a Big 10 Conference title.

Formerly an assistant on the women's soccer team at Nebraska-Omaha, Mikki became an assistant coach at Missouri last year.

And then there's Luke.

The youngest Denney coach was named Nebraska Soccer Player of the Year at Omaha Central in 1996 before walking on in football as a defensive back for eventual national champion Nebraska. After his freshman season, Denney left Lincoln for Kansas City, Mo., and a soccer scholarship at Rockhurst. While there, the goalie helped the NCAA Division II program

Denney, who was a senior goalkeeper for Rockhurst last fall, actually started his collegiate career in a different sport.

The Omaha, Neb., native was a walk-on defensive back on the 1997 national champion Nebraska football team as a freshman, but transferred to Rockhurst to play soccer for Hawks coach Tony Tocco. In 30 years at Rockhurst, Tocco has a record of 494-119-36.

THS athletics director Brandon Parker said Denney has been groomed under strong coaches.

"The biggest thing is he comes from a strong coaching background," Parker said. "His dad, Tom Osborne and Coach Tocco."

When Denney begins his coaching duties in the fall, he also will student teach under English teacher Shawn Edie. Denney could not be reached Tuesday.

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