Long-Time Illinois Athletic Director John Van Fleet Named to NIAAA Hall of Fame Class
November 15, 2017
Six high school athletic directors will be inducted into the ninth Hall of Fame class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) on December 12, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona, during banquet festivities at the 48th annual National Athletic Directors Conference co-sponsored by the NIAAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
This year’s conference will be held December 8-12 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
The 2017 NIAAA Hall of Fame class includes John Van Fleet, CMAA, who spent time as an Athletic Director at several IHSA schools during his distinguished career:
John Van Fleet, CMAA
During a varied career, not only was John Van Fleet, CMAA, a teacher, coach, trainer and athletic director, he was a licensed official in Iowa and Illinois in softball, baseball, basketball, football and track.
Van Fleet retired in 2006 after a 30-year career as a high school teacher, coach, athletic trainer and athletic director at several schools in Iowa and Illinois. He began his career as a teacher and athletic trainer at Ames (Iowa) High School in 1977. He then served 12 years at Gilbert (Iowa) Community Junior-Senior High School before moving to Illinois, where he was a coach and athletic director at Streator (Illinois) Township High School for eight years, Sterling (Illinois) High School for three years and Woodstock (Illinois) High School for three years.
At Streator High School, Van Fleet started an evening study time for athletes that improved academic performance and gained the support of faculty. At Sterling High School, he started soccer at the school that had a 30 percent Hispanic enrollment that were under-served.
Van Fleet coached for a total of 24 years, including 14 years as a head football coach, 12 years as a head boys track coach, two years as head baseball coach and one year as head girls softball coach.
Van Fleet was coordinator of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association’s (IADA) state Leadership Training Institute for 12 years. He also has produced seven editions of the IADA Leadership Training Institute Professional Development brochure and 11 editions of the Mentoring Program for New Athletic Directors Handbook. Van Fleet also trains and recruits IADA members for the Illinois Leadership Training Faculty. Of the 34 courses that are approved Administrators Academy courses by the Illinois State Board of Education, three of the templates were written by Van Fleet.
Van Fleet was forced to take early retirement in 2006 due to health concerns after being diagnosed with cancer in 2004. Since retiring, he has been the sportsmanship evaluator for the Illinois High School Association in football and dual-team wrestling and a mentor athletic director for the IADA. He also has assisted in the production of a study guide for the CAA exam for NIAAA members.
Nationally, Van Fleet has made enormous contributions to the NIAAA. He has completed 31 Leadership Training Courses (LTC), and he has taught an amazing 80 Leadership Training Institute (LTI) courses. He has been a member of the LTI National Faculty since 2003 teaching LTC 501 and LTC 618. He has made several presentations at the National Athletic Directors Conference and has had articles published in the Interscholastic Athletic Administration magazine.
Van Fleet earned his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and his master’s from Illinois State University. Among his honors, he was named Heart of Iowa Conference Football Co-Coach of the Year in 1988 and was inducted into the IADA Hall of Fame in 2009. He received the NFHS Citation in 2006, the NIAAA Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award in 2010 and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2013.