Rolf van de Kerkhof led the University of Delaware field hockey team to one of the most successful seasons in program history in 2013, his third season as the team’s head coach.
Following a record-setting campaign in the fall of 2013, Van de Kerkhof (pronounced “van-duh-kirk-off”) agreed to a five-year contract extension in December 2013. Hired in December 2010, he is just the sixth head coach in the history of Delaware field hockey.
Van de Kerkhof, who joined the Blue Hens after a successful five-year tenure as the head coach at Michigan State, led Delaware to an outstanding campaign in 2013. The team posted a program record of 17-5 while claiming the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament titles en route to the fifth NCAA Tournament berth in school history. Additionally, the Hens earned a Top 20 ranking in the NFHCA Coaches Poll.
For his efforts, Van de Kerkhof was named the NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year and CAA Co-Coach of the Year.
After three seasons at the helm of the Blue Hens, the Netherlands native has led his teams to a combined record of 34-28 and three consecutive trips to the CAA Tournament. Van de Kerkhof holds a career record of 108-62 over eight seasons at Delaware and Michigan State.
Van de Kerkhof came to Newark, Del. following a 12-year stint as an assistant and head coach at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. He became the Spartans assistant in 1999 before being named the head coach in 2006.
In total, Van de Kerkhof brings more than 25 years of playing and coaching experience to the Blue Hens. In addition to his time at Michigan State, he spent 16 years playing field hockey, obtaining experience as a goalkeeper, defender and midfielder. In August of 1999, he gave up his playing career to become a full-time coach at the intercollegiate level.
Prior to being named the Michigan State head coach in February 2006, he spent the previous seven seasons as the team’s top assistant coach. During his time at MSU, he helped the Spartans put together the most successful era of the program’s history.
Just before joining the Hens, Van de Kerkhof guided the 2010 Michigan State program to a 15-6 overall record and NCAA Championship first round appearance. MSU finished fourth in the Big Ten Conference, earning an at-large berth to the national tournament.
After leading the Spartans to both the Big Ten regular season and the Big Ten Tournament titles in 2009, Van de Kerkhof was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. The team finished the season with a record of 18-4 and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, where, after defeating Delaware, it fell to Virginia, 3-2. Following the 2009 season, Van de Kerkhof was also named the NFHCA West Regional Coach of the Year.
MSU posted a 17-6 overall record in 2008, advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and hosting the first and second rounds at Ralph Young Field. The Spartans dispatched defending national champion North Carolina in the first round before falling in a 1-0 heartbreaker to Iowa in the quarterfinals.
After an 8-12 mark in 2006, Van de Kerkhof’s 2007 team posted a 16-6 record and qualified for the NCAA Tournament, marking the fourth time in Michigan State history that the field hockey team had finished with 15 or more regular season wins. He was an assistant with the program when the Spartans did the same in 2001, 2002 and 2004. His five-year record as head coach at Michigan State stood at 74-34, including an impressive 33-10 mark over the final two seasons.
As a Spartan assistant, Van de Kerkhof helped the team to an overall record of 106-46 (.697), making two trips to the Final Four and another two into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. MSU's finest season came in 2002, with an overall record of 23-3 and a trip to the Final Four for the first time in program history.
Prior to coaching and living in Lansing, Mich., Van de Kerkhof coached the under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 boys and girls teams at various clubs while living in The Netherlands.
He earned a degree in sports, economics and communication at the Fonty's Hogeschool in Tilburg, The Netherlands, in 1996 and also graduated with two official coaching degrees offered by the Royal Netherlands National Field Hockey Association in 1997 and 1998. During the 1998 Field Hockey World Cup in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Van de Kerkhof was in charge of World Cup projects for Whise International Coaching Experts and Brabo International Hockey Equipment.
Since 2000, Van de Kerkhof has been involved in the Youth Olympic Development and Youth Elite Coaching programs, sponsored by the United States Field Hockey Association. In 2007, he served as the head coach of the US under-16 national team, which finished first in the runners-up pool in the HOD tournament in the Netherlands.
In 2001, he served as an assistant coach with the under-16 U.S. National Team, coaching the squad to a bronze medal in the same tournament. In addition,Van de Kerkhof has been coordinating the under-19 U.S. Futures Elite Hockey Tours to The Netherlands and served as head coach of the squads in the spring of 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. He also assists in developmental programs for coaches across the nation and enjoys volunteering for charity organizations, including the Greg Gephart Fund in Houston, Texas and the Worthington Weed Whackers Program in Columbus, Ohio.
He and his wife, Mary, have two sons, Sebastiaan and Mark, and a daughter, Lieve.
Van de Kerkhof's Career Year-by-Year Head Coaching Record