Adding to the hotbed of young coaches patrolling the hallways of King University is sixth year assistant coach of the men’s wrestling team, Derek Harrison. As a former King wrestler and disciple of current head coach, Nate Moorman, Harrison is deeply involved with his alma mater as well as multiple area youth wrestling organizations to help grow the sport and the strength of Tornado wrestling. He also serves as the strength and conditioning coach at King, serving the needs of all 25 Tornado varsity athletic programs.
Harrison helped guide the Tornado to an 8-7 dual record in 2013-14, including winning streaks of three and four matches. He also helped Kign finish 12th at the NCAA Regional while Bryce Killian and D'Marcus Spencer finished sixth in their respective weight classes, just one spot short of qualifying for the NCAA National Championships.
In 2012-13, he helped the Tornado post a dual match record of 5-3, while going 3-0 in conference matches. King also competed in many tournaments and had two wrestler's finish in the top-6 of the NCAA Division II Regional, Dyvon Passmore and Cody Davis. Both Trevor Wentt and Jeremy Miller earned Academic All-American Honors.
Harrison immediately returned to King after completing his undergraduate degree to serve as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s wrestling team. While an assistant he also took on responsibilities as King’s strength and conditioning coach, a position he still holds today. During his time at King, Harrison has helped transform athletes’ physique and conditioning as the University underwent the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, a move that brought many first-year successes for Tornado athletes in 2011-12 including one regular season championship, one conference tournament championship, two individual national champions, six Olympic qualifiers, 15 All-Americans, 10 individual conference champions, and two top-5 team finishes at their respective national competitions.
As an assistant coach with King men’s wrestling, he helped nurture two All-Americans, one (Frank Morgan) achieving such accolades at both the NAIA and NCAA levels, and six NCAA national qualifiers. In 2011-12 the Tornado reached as high as No. 11 in the country and stayed inside the top-25 all season, finishing the season ranked No. 20 overall in Division II.
Harrison devotes much of his time away from King to multiple northeast Tennessee youth wrestling programs as both a coach and administrator. He serves as the assistant coach for Team Tornado Wrestling Club College Division and is the head coach for Team Tornado Wrestling K-12 Division, both positions he has held since 2009. Between the two programs, Harrison works with boys ages 8-18 and teaches Freestyle, Greco, and Folkstyle wrestling.
In 2010, he led Team Tennessee to a top-20 finish at the Junior Nationals for the first time in the state's wrestling history. In 2010 and 2011, the Tennessee Wrestling Federation has named him Coach of the Year. In May 2012, Harrison was named Southeast Developmental Coach of the Year for his continued work in the region.
As if he did not have enough on his plate with his duties at King and coaching at the amateur level, Harrison has also taken on duties with USA Wrestling to serve on the Tennessee Board of Directors and was recently voted to become the Treasurer for the Tennessee Wrestling Federation.
Harrison is dual graduate of King obtaining both his bachelor's and master's degree from the University. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in marketing and coaching minor then went on to receive his master's in business administration in 2010. He was a four-year starter for the Tornado varsity wrestling team and was a team captain during his career. Before graduating, Harrison qualified to wrestle at NAIA Nationals and competed overseas against the Turkish and Bulgarian national teams.
Prior to coming to King, he won over 100 matches for Cleveland High School where he was a state champion in Greco-Roman and Freestyle before going on to compete for the Tennessee Junior National team.
He and his wife, Crista, reside in Bristol (TN).