WILMINGTON, Ohio - Alex Van der Sluijs has returned to his alma mater to lead the Wilmington College men's soccer program, Vice President for Athletic Administration and Director of Athletics Terry Rupert announced on Wednesday.
"I am excited to welcome Alex [Van der Sluijs] back to Wilmington," Rupert said. "He has a track record of success both collegiately at Defiance College and most recently at the high school level. We are confident Alex can continue the tradition of success that our men's soccer program has had under Bud Lewis' guidance."
Van der Sluijs comes to Wilmington from Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio, where he served as head boys' soccer coach as well as a marketing and development associate for the past three years. He led the Eagles to three consecutive winning seasons as well as managing the "CJ" brand.
"I am incredibly excited to be the next head men's soccer coach at Wilmington College," Van der Sluijs said. "Wilmington has always had a special place in my heart and it's very humbling to be back as the head coach. I want to thank Jim Reynolds, Terry Rupert and the search committee for believing in my abilities. I can't wait to get started."
Prior to Chamiande Julienne, Van der Sluijs spent seven years at Defiance College. He spent his first two years has a soccer graduate assistant while completing a Masters of Arts in Education degree. Upon graduation, VanderSluijs was named the head men's and women's soccer coach for the Yellow Jackets. The Defiance women's program improved the first three years under VanderSluijs's guidance and turned in the program's first-ever winning season in 2012 with a 9-6-4 record.
Van der Sluijs coached the men's team for five seasons and ended his tenure as the second-winningest coach in program history. The 2013 Yellow Jackets achieved a 10-9 record and a 5-4 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), marking the best season for the program in over a decade. Van der Sluijs brought in over 10 freshmen to each recruiting class per gender as well as organized a trip overseas to Europe for both programs. He also served as a fitness and wellness instructor at Defiance.
A 2006 graduate of Wilmington, Van der Sluijs was a four-year member of the men's soccer program and finished his career with 29 goals and 20 assists. He was a three-time First Team All-Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) selection along with being named OAC Forward of the Year on two occasions. He was a key offensive figure on a team that won the College's only OAC title in 2004.
Van der Sluijs, who was elected to the College's Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this year, takes over for his collegiate coach, Bud Lewis, who led Wilmington's men's soccer program to over 500 victories in 43 seasons as head coach.
"No one can duplicate what Bud has done here, and 500-plus wins are some pretty big shoes to fill," said Van der Sluijs. "Some of the best people I know have gone through this program. All I can do is be a selfless leader and continue the tradition of Wilmington Soccer that all the players and coaches before me have built."