A for Athlete

Fresh after being named Rising Assistant Coach of the Year, Derek Perkins has been named an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky . Perkins will serve as the sprint coach, head coach Gary Conelly announced. Perkins comes to Kentucky after serving in a similar role as an assistant coach at Clemson University for two years.

“It's an absolute thrill to come back and coach for my alma mater,” Perkins said. “I have dreamed about this moment ever since I left UK and now I get to make it a reality. I am excited to get started and build on the past success of Kentucky swimming and diving.”

Perkins, a native of Georgetown, Ky., swam for Conelly at Kentucky before being named assistant coach at Transylvania, then moving to an assistant coaching position at Emory University and finally an assistant coaching job at Clemson University where he worked primarily as the sprint coach with the Tigers.

In addition to serving as the primary sprint coach, Perkins played a large role in Clemson’s recruiting efforts. Perkins also was the event management coordinator for all home meets, the compliance coordinator and conducted one-on-one stroke analysis sessions.

Perkins was named the 2011 CollegeSwimming.com Rising Assistant Coach of the Year while at Clemson and played an integral part in the Clemson men’s team earning its first top 25 finish in school history at NCAA’s. Under Perkins, the Tigers had four individual NCAA qualifiers and their first men’s relay qualifier since 1989. Perkins coached the 200-medley relay and 50 freestyle event winners at the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Under Perkins’ tutelage, 20 school records were broken at Clemson.

“We are all looking forward to having Derek Perkins on staff,” UK head coach Gary Conelly said. “He is coming off a great year. Derek was instrumental in taking Clemson to its highest finish in school history. His efforts won him the NCAA Assistant Swim Coach of the Year award. Derek has great technical expertise as well as being a strong recruiting. It is wonderful having a former swimmer come back to UK to join the staff and help us be a consistent top 20 team.”

Perkins served as the assistant swim coach, recruiting coordinator and aquatics coordinator during his time at Emory University from August 2004 through July 2009. At Emory University, Perkins helped manage all aspects of the program, including travel arrangements, alumni relations, summer camps, and strength and conditioning and equipment management.

During his five years at Emory, Perkins coached back-to-back national championship teams in 2005 and 2006, 12 individual national event champions, four relay national event champions, 58 All-Americans and 55 conference champions. In total, an impressive 93 school records were broken under Perkins’ coaching.

Prior to his time at Emory University, Perkins coached at Transylvania University from August 2002 through March 2004. There, he organized seasonal swim workouts and planned and designed strength and conditioning programs. Perkins helped lead the swimming and diving program to its first-ever conference championship, and coached the Transylvania student-athlete of the year in 2004. Ten team records were set during Perkins’ two years as assistant coach.

Perkins closed out his swimming career at Kentucky in 2002 and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. Perkins and his wife, Cassie, have a 1-year-old daughter, Halle Brooke. Perkins said he enjoys playing basketball and golf in addition to spending time with his family when he is away from the pool.