John Zupanc recently completed a triumphant run as head men’s track & field and cross country coach at UW-Oshkosh. He guided the Titan program, which became one of the dominant figures in NCAA’s Division III, to many successes.
Overall as head coach, his squads compiled six NCAA team championships and seven conference crowns.
Zupanc started with the school as a volunteer assistant on the track & field squad in 1981 but was shortly called upon to become the head cross country coach in 1982. Zupanc served as an assistant track and field coach until becoming the head coach to start the 2005 outdoor season.
As the men’s cross country coach, Zupanc tallied four NCAA team titles with a three-year sweep in 1988, 1989, and 1990. He added a crown in 2002 as part of eight trophy (top-four) finishes in the squad’s 19 appearances at the NCAA meet. Thirty-six of his cross country athletes won All-America honors including four-time honorees Dave Lambert and Scott Steuernagel. In 2002, Zupanc was named National Cross Country Coach of the Year.
His cross country squads also won seven WIAC titles and five won conference individual crowns. Steuernagel was a two-time WIAC champ with victories in 1989 and 1990.
As head track & field coach, Zupanc’s athletes claimed ten NCAA event titles and 115 All-America honors. The Titans finished in the nation’s top-four on five occasions indoors. In addition, with a sweep of NCAA track & field crowns in 2009, UW-Oshkosh claimed the 2008-2009 USTFCCCA Al Carius Program of the Year title.
Zupanc received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Zupanc’s wife, Deb Vercauteren – a Class of 2006 inductee into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame – was part of a powerful coaching duo. While John coached the men, Deb coached the women at UWO. Vercauteren led the women of UW-Oshkosh to 18 national crowns, ten of which came in outdoor track & field.
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