Head Coach J.L. Zapushek
J.L. Zapushek has been named the head coach of the Eureka College men’s soccer program, according to an announcement from Eureka Director of Athletics Paul Bryant on Feb. 25, 2011. Zapushek had served as the interim head coach of the Red Devils since Sept. 28, 2010.
After being promoted to interim head coach on Sept. 28, Zapushek guided the Red Devils to a 4-6-1 record in the final 11 games of the season, the best 11-game stretch in the four-year history of the program. His first three games resulted in the first three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) in program history. Included in that streak was a 1-1 draw with SLIAC power Fontbonne at Traister Field on Oct. 2, a team that had outscored the Red Devils 16-0 in three previous meetings since 2007.
Eureka’s production at both ends of the pitch saw significant improvement after Zapushek’s promotion in late September. The Red Devils averaged 2.10 goals during the final 11 contests, up nearly a full goal per game from the 1.22 goals scored on average during the first nine matches. Defensively, Eureka yielded 2.45 goals per game under Zapushek’s watch, compared to 4.56 goals per game during the first nine matches of the season.
The Peoria, Ill. native owns more than two decades of coaching experience as a youth club coach and is the only remaining coach to have been a part of the Eureka program since the Red Devils began fielding a team at the club level in 2006. While serving as an assistant coach to both the Eureka men’s and women’s soccer programs, Zapushek played a large role as an assistant in helping the Eureka women’s soccer team post a 7-10-0 record in its first year at the NCAA Division III level in 2007. Eureka’s .412 winning percentage was easily the highest among seven first-year Division III women’s programs that season. He was ultimately elevated to assistant head coach of the Eureka women’s soccer team in 2009.
“I am more than happy to remove the interim label from J.L. Zapushek’s title and make him the head coach of our men’s soccer program,” Bryant said. “The progress our student-athletes showed after his promotion was a testament to his coaching style and hard work. We’re excited to see the men’s soccer team continue to improve in its pursuit of a SLIAC championship.”
Owning more than 800 victories as a club coach since his debut in 1986, Zapushek has coached the Cougar Soccer Club, the Metamora Select Soccer Club, the Sporting Futbol Club and FC Peoria. He has also played a large role building youth soccer programs and facilities at the grade school, high school and park district levels in central Illinois.
Zapushek is also currently the Director of Coaching for the FC Metro Select Lil’ Devils program in Eureka. His daughter, K.T. Zapushek, ended her collegiate soccer career in 2009 ranked first all-time at Eureka with 19 assists and second all-time with 36 goals.
Assistant Coach Bill Conger
Bill Conger will join the men’s soccer coaching staff for his first season in 2011.
Conger, born and raised in Peoria, Ill., will oversee all administrative aspects of Eureka’s men’s soccer program and contribute in recruiting and team management.
In addition to his responsibilities at EC, Conger has served as the coordinator of the FC Metro Select Lil’ Devils youth program in Eureka since 2008. Conger has two sons, Aiden (14) and Sacha (11). Sacha is the captain of the Lil’ Devils’ U-12 squad.
Conger owns a master’s degree in fine arts from Illinois State University and was the Senior Curator at University Galleries at ISU for 12 years until his resignation in 2009. He is a professional artist that has had his work exhibited internationally in New Zealand, Ireland, Poland, Germany and Austria as well as all over the United States.
Assistant Coach Larry Evans
The owner of more than two decades of youth soccer coaching experience, Larry Evans will join the Eureka College men’s soccer coaching staff for his first season in 2011.
Evans began his soccer coaching career in 1983 as a volunteer assistant coach at Manual High School in Peoria, assisting with drills, training and the Rams’ goalkeepers through the 1988 season. He went on serve as the first soccer head coach at Dunlap High School beginning in August of 1991, guiding the Eagles’ boys squad to a winning record in its inaugural season.
A native of Peoria, Ill., Evans also owns more than 10 years of club coaching experience between Peoria’s Sporting Futbol Club (1994-02) and John Gaspar Soccer Academy (2005-present). Evans was the head developmental coach at each location and also contributed as a youth soccer official. He is also certified by the American Sports Education Program.
Assistant Coach Brian O'Malley
The most decorated player in Eureka College men’s soccer history and the owner of 14 different school records, Brian O’Malley will join the men’s soccer coaching staff in 2011.
After playing one varsity season for Central of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, O’Malley transferred to Eureka prior to the 2008 season and quickly became the most prolific goal-scorer in school history. His 42 career goals rank first all-time in Eureka history, while his 26 goals during his senior campaign remain a single-season school record and led all NCAA players across all Divisions in 2009. He remains Eureka’s all-time leader in points (98), shots attempted (159) and shots on goal (94).
The Peoria, Ill. native currently holds single-season school records in points (60), shots (94), shots on goal (59) and scoring percentage (.277). He also owns or shares the single-game Eureka record in goals (five), assists (three), points (10), shots (14) and shots on goal (10).
Assistant Coach K.T. Zapushek
K.T. Zapushek will return to the Eureka College men’s soccer staff as an assistant coach for her second season in 2011. Zapushek was a three-year letterwinner for the Eureka women’s soccer program from 2007 until 2009 and owns four school records, including career assists, single-season assists and single-game assists.
Zapushek played in 17 matches for Augustana as a freshman in 2006 before transferring to Eureka to be a part of the Red Devils’ inaugural NCAA Division III team in 2007. She went on to tally a school-record 19 assists for the Red Devils in her three seasons and also owns the program record in shots attempted (200). Her 10 assists during her sophomore season were a single-season school record, while she shares the single-game assist record (three) with current Red Devil Kesli Blankenship.
Additionally, Zapushek’s goal scored 28 seconds into the match at Blackburn on Sept. 24, 2008 was the fastest goal scored in a match in program history. Her goal 4:28 into the overtime period at MacMurray on Sept. 29, 2009 was the fastest golden goal scored in program history.
Zapushek earned her undergraduate degree from Eureka College in 2011.