Sports

Spartans welcome John O’Connor

Replacing a soccer coaching legend like John Werner will be no easy feat.  But an experienced person who has won at both the Division I and III levels is just what Castleton State College was looking for.  
John O’Connor is looking to share more than a first name with the former head coach, and he understands how important Werner was to the community.
“(Werner) is a legend in the state,” O’Connor said.  “Not only with what he accomplished at Castleton, but also at the High School level and development programs.”
John Werner says he has been enjoying retirement and knows the coach is the right man for the job.
“The program has been valued by the college and is in great hands with John (O’Connor) and he was a great hire,” said Werner.  
O’Connor is looking to continue the success of Werner and says adjusting to a new home and new players will be the main ingredient.
“My door will always be open.  I want to meet with all the players and be a part of the community, O’Conner stated.  “The key is to not move too quickly or be someone your not.”
O’Connor comes to Castleton from the University of Rhode Island, where he won a conference championship in his six years.  His family is also extremely important to him and wants his kids to be a part of the team.
O’Connor was one of 150 quality resumes the college received to fill Werner’s post, according to Castleton Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Tim Barrett.  
“He has a wealth of experience and his coaching philosophy is a perfect fit for the program and the community.  We saw how successful he has been at every step and it was a unanimous decision,” Barrett said.
If people are worried about the transition between coaches, both Barrett and Athletic Director Deanna Tyson agree O’Connor will not be “coming into an empty cupboard.  The team will be just as effective as last year.”    
Also concurring is junior center midfielder John Kendall.  
“I enjoyed playing for Coach Werner but am very excited for the new coach to come in,” the midfielder said. “Plus he has the best name on the planet so he is already off on the right foot.”
It is never easy filling the shoes of a Castleton sports idol but O’Connor is ready and eager to plot his competitions’ termination.
“I love a new challenge and want to set the standard high. We want to win the league.”