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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Roughnecks Name David Irving Head Coach


Professional soccer will officially return to the city of Tulsa in 2015 with the inaugural season of the Tulsa Roughnecks in the USL PRO league. Recently, the Roughnecks organization revealed that the new team will have more in common with the original Roughnecks than just a nickname. The new Roughnecks announced that David Irving, who played briefly for the original Roughnecks in 1980, has been named the new team’s head coach.

Irving comes to Tulsa after serving as head coach of the USL PRO’s Wilmington Hammerheads for 14 seasons. During his tenure in North Carolina, the Hammerheads became one of the most accomplished franchises in USL PRO, and he was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame. He left his position with Wilmington in August of this season.

“I want to thank the Roughnecks’ organization for this opportunity,” says Irving. “I am very excited.”

“I do remember the Roughneck fans and how they filled Skelly Stadium,” he says. “After all these years, I feel privileged to be back in Tulsa, and I look forward to meeting and talking with those fans. The Roughnecks were a big part of the wonderful Tulsa soccer community, and I know that I have a tough act to follow with the legendary Roughneck players and coaches.”

Irving, a native of Workington, England, led the Hammerheads to 10 playoff appearances and three trips to the league championship game, winning the USL title in 2003.

His teams have also excelled in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, reaching the quarterfinals on two occasions and claiming wins over Major League Soccer clubs Dallas and Chicago.

As coach of the Hammerheads, he was also instrumental in bringing English sides Sheffield Wednesday FC and Sunderland AFC to North Carolina for exhibition matches with the Hammerheads.

Irving played professionally, beginning his career with hometown Workington AFC before moving on a transfer to Everton FC in what was then the English First Division, the equivalent to today’s English Premier League. He also spent time with Sheffield United, Oldham Athletic and Shamrock Rovers. In 1978, Irving came to the United States and joined the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in the old North American Soccer League, scoring 27 goals in 72 appearances for the Strikers.

Tulsa general manager Noel Lemon acquired the striker in 1980, bringing him to Tulsa. Irving scored three goals in only seven appearances for the Roughnecks before joining the Atlanta Chiefs in mid-season. He played the 1981 season for the San Jose Earthquakes.

Irving’s role with the Roughnecks begins immediately. As head coach, he will oversee all aspects of the team’s operation, including scouting and signing players.
“We feel very fortunate to obtain a coach with David’s experience,” says Brian Carroll, Roughnecks vice president of public relations. “His knowledge and understanding of how to construct a team to compete in USL PRO is invaluable. The fact that he played with the original Roughnecks is an added bonus. The entire Roughnecks organization looks forward to working with David to build a team that Tulsa fans will enjoy and take pride in supporting.”

Updated 11-23-2014

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