John O’Connor enters his 11th season at the helm of the Spartans in 2023.
The Spartans have seen at least one player garner postseason recognition in each of the past four full seasons under O’Connor. Seraphin Iradukunda was named to the first team in the LEC debut season of 2018; Jack Kingdon earned second team honors in 2019; Adolphe Alfani was named the 2021 LEC Rookie of the Year; and Matt Spiller was tabbed to the league’s second team in 2022.
Over his first five seasons, O’Connor led the Spartans to the 2017 North Atlantic Conference regular season championship, tournament title, and a berth in the NCAA Championship, as well as the 2013 NAC regular season championship and a share of the 2015 NAC title. O’Connor picked up his 200th career win in the Spartans’ victory over Western New England in the 2015 ECAC Division III Tournament Quarterfinal. He was named 2017 NAC Coach of the Year – his third such honor.
O’Connor’s 2013 squad posted an 8-1-1 conference record to earn the regular season championship and top seed in the North Atlantic Conference Tournament before falling to eventual NAC champion Thomas. Senior Nate Koenemann was named the Defensive Player of the Year and became the program’s first NSCAA All-Region selection since 2010 when he was voted to the first team. Overall, O’Connor had five players earn NAC All-Conference honors and was himself named the NAC Coach of the Year as the team finished 13-4-2 overall.
Prior to Castleton, O’Connor served as the head coach for the University of Rhode Island from 2006-2012. During his tenure with the Rams he won an Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship and reached the tournament semifinals on two other occasions. Five of his former players went on to play professional soccer, and three of which played in Major League Soccer, including Geoff Cameron, who is currently a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team and Stoke City of the English Premier League.
In addition to his work at the Division I level, O’Connor also served as the head coach at Division III University of Chicago from 1995-2006. In just his second season the team reached the national semifinal and he was named the NSCAA Division III National Coach of the Year. He reached the NCAA Tournament again in 2001 and 2005 when his teams were ranked in the top-15 nationally. While at Chicago he also served as an associate professor in the department of Physical Education.
O’Connor earned his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from the University of Maine-Orono in 1984 and two years later completed his master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Leadership. From 1990-95, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Dartmouth under Bobby Clark, who went on to coach at the University of Notre Dame for 16 seasons (2001-16). O’Connor was a part of two Ivy League Championships with the Big Green, helping the team reach the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I Tournament twice during his tenure in Hanover.
The collegiate head coach earned a USSF “A” License and holds a NSCAA Premier Diploma. He is active in coaching education through the United Soccer Coaches and US Soccer, works with the Vermont Olympic Development Program, and is the Director of Coaching and Technical Director for Summit Football Club.
For the past three summers he has been the Head Coach for the Vermont Fusion of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) based out of Manchester, VT. Over this time he has amasses a record of 16-6-6 and was names the Northeast Coach of the Year in 2022 while leading the team to the WPSL Quarterfinals.
O’Connor resides in Rutland with his wife Sheila, the VTSU Castleton Aquatics Coordinator, and their children Megan (21) and Michael who is a sophomore midfielder for the Spartans.