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Spence bolts Barton, takes over at Newman University
spt mm Darin Spence sideline
Darin Spence is leaving Barton Community College's women's head basketball coaching post for the same appointment at Newman University, a four-year school. He was introduced in Wichita on Friday afternoon. - photo by Mack McClure Tribune file photo

The revolving door of coaches continues at Barton Community College.

Barton is now looking for its fifth head women's head basketball coach in the last six years after Darin Spence was introduced Friday as the new women's head coach at Newman University, a four-year school in Wichita.

Spence, a highly successful coach in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference at Butler in El Dorado and Cowley in Arkanas City, guided Barton for just one fleeting season, where his team posted an 18-13 record, including 8-8 in the Jayhawk West, and lost to Labette in the opening round of the NJCAA Region VI playoffs in March.

Spence was hired late last summer by Barton to replace Keith Ferguson, now an assistant coach at Hutchinson, one of Barton's biggest rivals.

Before arriving at Barton, Spence spent eight seasons at NCAA Division-I New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M., becoming the second-winningest coach in the Aggies’ history with 109 wins.

“Darin will be an absolute great fit for Newman University,” Newman athletic director Vic Trilli said in a prepared statement that appears on the school’s web site. “He has had success at every level of college basketball, including eight years at the Division I level. He brings an experience factor and big-time family values that will provide some stability for our program.”

With a career coaching record of 444-222 as a head women's basketball coach, Spence captured his 300th Jayhawk Conference win last winter with a win over Butler, the school that gave him his first Jayhawk Conference head post.

Now, it seems, he has come full circle.

Spence's coaching career started at his alma mater, Marymount College, in Salina. The 1985 graduate spent three years coaching at Marymount, including a 29-7 record in his first and only season as head coach during the 1987-88 campaign.

Spence spent the next five seasons as the head coach at Butler, recording a 117-47 record, with two Jayhawk Western Division titles, and a pair of trips to the NJCAA Region VI finals. He then transitioned to the men's game, where he spent two seasons as an assistant at Cowley and two seasons as a head coach at Colby.

In 1997, Spence returned to Cowley, this time as the head women's coach and over the next six years, he compiled a 171-26 record and led Cowley to five Jayhawk East titles. He also earned four Jayhawk East Coach of the Year awards after positioning the Tigers in the national rankings in each of his six seasons.
Spence and his wife, Andre’, have three daughters — Sierra (24), Madison (22), who played for Spence for four years at NMS, and Sacia (17) — along with Drake (14), the youngest and only boy.