He replaces former head coach Donny Sheehan, who recently accepted a position as Director of Soccer Operations at the University of Akron. Sheehan served as head coach of the men’s soccer program for one season after serving as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s programs at McKendree for over 10 years.
VanBuskirk most recently served a two-year stint as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer program at University of Missouri-St. Louis. This past season he helped lead the Tritons to the championship game of the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament and a 12-7-1 record, the team’s best since the 1996 season.
“What really set John apart in our search process was his focus on building winning traditions and winning programs,” said Brueggemann. “He has vast experience playing both collegiately and professionally, and he is very well known for his technical coaching style. He is a proven winner, both on and off the field, and will be an exceptional role model for our student-athletes.”
VanBuskirk also serves as director of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Metro Soccer Club’s high school boys program and is the head coach of the club’s U18 NPL team. He also previously served as a coach and high school boys director for Metro United Soccer Club from 2007-08.
“I’m really excited to lead this McKendree program,” said VanBuskirk. “It was a big-time program at the NAIA level and we’re looking forward to taking it to the next step at the NCAA Division II level as well. We had a team meeting and discussed our expecations for the program and we want to be a contender every year. There’s no doubt in my mind that we have the potential to do that and can’t wait to get started.”
From 1995-2006, VanBuskirk played in more than 200 games during his professional playing career in Germany, including one game in the German Bundesliga league, 78 in the Bundesliga 2 league and 193 in the Regionaliga league. He was a member of teams such as Rot-Weiss Erfurt, KFC Uerdingen, Siegen, LR Ahlen and BSV Kickers Emden. VanBuskirk finished with 68 goals during his professional career.
At the completion of his playing career, he spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant coach for Kickers Emden in the 3rd Division in Germany.
A Granite City High School graduate, VanBuskirk helped the Warriors to state titles in 1987 and 1989. He then continued his playing career at Indiana University, recording 16 goals and five assists in his four years with the Hoosiers, while also helping the program to three Big Ten championships, two NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal appearances, two NCAA College Cup appearances, and a No. 1 national ranking. He was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore.
VanBuskirk graduated from Indiana University in 1995. He resides in Granite City, Ill., with his 12-year-old twin sons, Niclas and Noah.