John Keating, a highly experienced director and head coach in college and club coaching circles, will begin the 2014 season as his fourth at the Head Men's Soccer Coach at Belmont Abbey College.
After a 6-11-1 season in his first year on the Crusader touchline, Keating led the Abbey to a Conference Carolinas Tournament berth with a 6-10 record and a 4-6 league mark. Two Crusaders were named all-conference.
A native of South Africa, Keating came to the Abbey from the Omaha Nebraska Football Club (OFC), where he spent two years as the Director of Coaching. In that role, he oversaw 3,000 athletes as well as the development program--including capital campaigns, grant writing, annual giving, and corporate sponsorship outreach. Last year, under Keating’s direction, OFC generated more than a million dollars in revenue.
On the field, Keating led Omaha Football Club to his ninth State Cup title in 2010, was recognized as the Regional Coach of the Year at the United States Youth Soccer Association Convention, and was a finalist for the National Coach of the Year award. From 2004-09, Keating was the Director of Coaching for the Gladiator Soccer Club, and previously, he served as Director of Coaching for the Cedar River (Iowa) Soccer Association and as Head Coach for the Highland (Tennessee) Football Club.
At the collegiate level, Keating has held several head coaching positions. At Kirkwood College in Iowa, he was head coach from 2000-02. At Warren Wilson College, he served as head coach and Assistant Athletic Director, as well as the chair of the Physical Education Department, from 1995-97. Keating also served as an assistant coach at the State University of New York-Fredonia from 1993-94, and as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, West Virginia University, in 1992. While a student there, Keating played soccer from 1988-92, was a team captain, and became an all-conference selection. When he graduated in 1993 with a degree in finance, he ended his undergraduate soccer career as the Mountaineers fifth all-time leading goal scorer. Before coming to the United States, Keating had been a member of the South African under-17 national soccer team (1987).
Keating said that he is delighted to come to the Abbey and that he and his wife are looking forward to living in North Carolina again. He explains, “I took this job for three reasons: Providence, Virtue, and the state of North Carolina. Providentially, I have been a Benedictine all of my life. I went to a Benedictine school as a youngster and my family are lay Benedictines. What sets Belmont Abbey apart is its focus on virtue through athletics. That was the biggest draw for me. I have observed moral decline in youth sports through the years and this position will give me the opportunity to redeem what I do. I also once lived in North Carolina and my wife and I dreamed of moving back.”
Keating and his wife, Toni, have four children: Jack (9), Dublin (7), Finn (4) and Savannah (2).