Kevin Emerson, who coached at San Bernardino Valley College the past five seasons, has taken over as Orange Coast's football head coach, the school announced Monday.
Emerson takes over for Mike Taylor, who was 62-91 over the past 15 seasons. Taylor, who got OCC to three bowl games, will remain on the Pirates staff as the defensive coordinator.
Emerson, who was 29-23 in five seasons with the Wolverines, will be officially introduced as coach during a meet-and-greet with the new coach Thursday at OCC's gym.
"The past few days have been a little intense, to say the least," Emerson said in a release posted on the school's website. "It's an exciting time and I'm very happy to be a part of this college and to keep this program moving forward."
Emerson was selected among plenty of top-quality candidates because he had what the Pirates were looking for, according to Athletic Director/Dean of Kinesiology and Athletics, Dr. Michael Sutliff.
"When we called around for references on Kevin, what kept coming up was his high-level character and that was something that I was most impressed with," Sutliff said in the release. "He's a very highly organized person with lots of coaching experience and success at each of his stops. Also, with each position he held, he always left the program in better shape than it was when he arrived."
The hiring process started with over 80 applicants from throughout the country, according to Sutliff. The hiring committee then interviewed the top 18 candidates and narrowed down the list to three. Following a second interview which included OCC's President, Dr. Dennis Harkins, Emerson was selected for the job.
Emerson becomes the seventh head coach in the program's 66-year history and just the fourth since 1962.
"One of the things that I've done in the past is work with coaching staffs which were part of the old regime," Emerson said. "Mike is a great coach and he will be an outstanding defensive coordinator for us. He knows our system and it will be a smooth transition."
Emerson guided the Wolverines to the American Division Mountain Conference title in 2010, just two years after the team finished 0-10. That 2010 team led the state in scoring 41.5 points per game and Emerson was named as California Community Colleges Football Coaches Assn. Region VI Coach of the Year.
"I like to run our team like a typical four-year school," Emerson said. "The No. 1 objective year in and year out is to get our players to the next level. During my coaching career, I've sent 176 players to the four-year level. It's something I take great pride in."
Last season, Emerson led the Wolverines to an 8-3 record and a trip to the Patriotic Bowl, the second bowl appearance in his five-year stint as head coach.
"We will run a fast-paced, no-huddle, attack-style type of offense and we will take what the defense gives us," Emerson said. "It's a style I've had success with in the past and it's a system that players really enjoy playing in."
Prior to SBVC, Emerson was the head coach at Citrus College from 2001-07, where he compiled a 46-27 record and four consecutive Western State Conference South championships. During his tenure at Citrus, Emerson was named the WSC South Coach of the Year on two occasions.
Before joining the head coaching ranks, Emerson was an offensive coordinator at Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), where he helped his team to a conference championship in 1999 and a NAIA playoff bid.
The following season, Emerson was named the Mid-States Football League Assistant Coach of the Year while coaching at Olivet.
In 1998, Emerson served as offensive coordinator at Azusa Pacific University and helped guide his alma mater to the 1998 NAIA national championship.
Emerson's coaching career began as a receiver/quarterback coach for Canyon High School and spent three years with the Comanches. From there, Emerson joined the college ranks as receiver coach for Rancho Santiago College (now known as Santa Ana College). He was promoted to offensive coordinator the following season and helped guide the Dons to a conference title and a victory in the McDonald's Bowl in 1996.
Emerson graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion in 1995, and in 1997, he earned his master's degree at Azusa Pacific.