Vern Gingerich is set to begin his 10th season as a volunteer assistant coach on the Notre Dame staff. Among other duties, Gingerich works with the Irish goalkeepers.
The Notre Dame program has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success since Gingerich joined the staff. In those eight seasons, the Irish have posted a 111-48-33 record, won the 2013 national championship along with capturing four conference titles. Notre Dame goalkeepers have posted 71 shutouts under Gingerich's tutelage.
Additionally, Notre Dame has produced nine All-Americans, 39 all-conference selections, five conference players of the year and 23 MLS draft picks since the beginning of the 2008 season. The program also has excelled in the classroom, boasting nine Academic All-America honorees and 14 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America selections, including two NSCAA Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
The Fighting Irish have earned a bid to the NCAA Championship in seven of Gingerich's eight seasons with the program and they have garnered one of the tournament's 16 national seeds on six occasions, including the top overall seed in 2012 and 2014.
Notre Dame finished the national title-winning 2013 campaign with a remarkable 17-1-6 record while playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Irish opened the season with a 13-game unbeaten streak, which catapulted them to No. 1 in the national polls for the first time in program history. After suffering their lone loss of the season to Virginia, 2-0, the Fighting Irish finished the campaign with a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) and outscored their opponents 25-8 during that stretch en route to the title. In their five-game run through the NCAA tournament, the Fighting Irish owned a 14-4 scoring advantage over their competition. Irish goalkeeper Patrick Wall registered 10 shutouts and a 0.71 goals-against average while playing every minute of the season.
The 2013 season also saw the Fighting Irish claim a share of the ACC regular-season title during their first year in the challenging league. Notre Dame and Maryland both finished conference play with 7-1-3 records, which included a 1-1 tie between the two schools during the regular season. The Irish would get the ultimate upper hand when they took down the Terrapins, 2-1, in the national title game at PPL Park.
Gingerich, along with associate head coach BJ Craig and assistant coach Greg Dalby, helped head coach Bobby Clark earn national coach-of-the-year honors from the NSCAA and Soccer America along with being tapped as the ACC Coach of the Year.
Several Notre Dame players received accolades for their performances in 2013. Senior forward Harrison Shipp was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy and copped first team All-America honors, while fifth-year senior Grant Van De Casteele was a third team All-American. The Fighting Irish boasted six all-ACC selections, headlined by Shipp, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
Following the season, Shipp signed with the Chicago Fire as a "Homegrown Player" and the Colorado Rapids selected Van De Casteele in the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. That gave Notre Dame three first-round picks in the last two seasons as Ryan Finley (Columbus Crew) and Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids) both went in the opening round of the 2013 SuperDraft and Powers would go on to win the MLS Rookie of the Year Award.
That was the latest MLS honor for a player who Gingerich helped mentor at Notre Dame. Matt Besler is a three-time MLS All-Star, two-time MLS Best XI selection, the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year and he captained Sporting KC to the 2013 MLS Cup. Justin Morrow started the 2012 MLS All-Star Game while he was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes (now with Toronto FC).
Besler and Morrow established another monumental moment for the Fighting Irish program as they became the first Notre Dame alums to earn a cap with the United States Senior National Team when they started on the backline in a friendly versus Canada on Jan. 29, 2013. Besler has gone on to earn over 20 caps with the U.S. and he started all four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Gingerich has witnessed other Fighting Irish players experience success on the international level. Powers and Aaron Maund both were members of the United States team that competed at the 2009 U-20 World Cup in Egypt. In August of 2010, Powers was named the MVP of the Milk Cup Tournament as he helped lead the U.S. U-20 squad to the title with a 3-0 record. Bright Dike has played in multiple games with the Nigerian National Team and he became the first Notre Dame alum to score a goal for a senior national team as he deposited the equalizer in a friendly against Catalonia on Jan. 2, 2013.
In his first season on the Irish staff in 2008, Gingerich helped the Fighting Irish capture the BIG EAST Blue Division title and earn the No. 12 seed for the NCAA Championship before finishing with a 12-7-2 record. Goalkeepers Andrew Quinn and Philip Tuttle teamed up to post seven shutouts on the season.
Accolades were in store for the Irish during the `08 season. Besler, a first team All-American and first team Academic All-American, and Dike both were first team all-BIG EAST selections and headlined a group of five Notre Dame players that copped all-league honors. Besler heard his named called during the 2009 MLS SuperDraft as he was taken with the eighth pick overall by Kansas City. That marked the highest a Fighting Irish player had ever been nabbed in the MLS draft. The New York Red Bulls picked Jack Traynor in the second round.
Notre Dame posted an 11-8-4 record in 2009 and Quinn and Tuttle combined to record eight clean sheets on the season. After finishing in second place in the BIG EAST Blue Division, Notre Dame was the runner-up at the BIG EAST Championship before earning an NCAA tournament bid.
Six Notre Dame players garnered all-BIG EAST honors in `09. Dike, who led the league in points (26) and goals (11), was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and Michael Thomas, an Academic All-American, joined him on the all-BIG EAST first team.
Dike, Thomas and Morrow all were selected during the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, while Quinn signed a contract with DC United.
In 2010, Notre Dame was seeded ninth for the NCAA Championship and finished with a 10-6-4 record. Five Notre Dame student-athletes received all-BIG EAST accolades for the `10 season. Headlining the honorees were first-team selections Jeb Brovsky and Steven Perry, who led all BIG EAST players in goals with 12 and was tied for the points lead with 28.
Brovsky, Perry and Bilal Duckett were picked in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, while Tuttle was taken in the supplemental draft. Tuttle and Walsh combined to notch six shutouts on the season.
Notre Dame registered a 9-5-4 record in 2011 and boasted three all-BIG EAST honorees, including Maund, a first-team selection. Walsh posted six shutouts during the `11 campaign, including four against ranked opponents. Among the ranked foes blanked were No. 1 Connecticut (0-0), No. 3 Louisville (1-0) and No. 15 Indiana (0-0). Maund, Brendan King and Greg Klazura all were drafted into the MLS following the season.
The Fighting Irish compiled one of the top seasons in the history of the program in 2012 as they won their first seven matches en route to a 17-4-1 record, which signified the most wins for the Irish since 1988. Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Championship and garnered the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. Irish goalkeepers Will Walsh and Patrick Wall teamed up to record nine clean sheets on the season.
In addition to his duties with the Fighting Irish, Gingerich was the goalkeepers coach for the Indiana Invaders (PDL) from 2008-11. He also was the director of goalkeeping for the Michiana Echo (both boys and girls) in 2008.
During the 2007 campaign, he served as goalkeeper coach at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Ind. The Saints posted a 9-8-0 record that season.
Gingerich was an assistant coach/goalkeepers coach for Elkhart Central High School from 2002-06. During that span, the Blue Blazers posted a 72-17-8 record, including a 33-0-3 mark within the Northern Indiana Conference. He mentored several athletes who went on to play at the collegiate level, including Justin Holmes, a goalkeeper who played at the University of New Mexico. Alec Purdie (Indiana), Ruben Garrido (West Virginia) and Jorge Ramirez (IPFW) were other NCAA Division I players that Gingerich coached while at Elkhart Central.
His prep-coaching career began at his alma mater, Northridge High School in Middlebury, Ind. Gingerich was the goalkeeper trainer for the Northridge men's team from 1995-97.
Gingerich also possesses a wealth of playing experience. He played goalkeeper at Northridge High School from 1992-93 and went on to play collegiately at Tri-State (Trine) University from 1993-97. In 1997, he was named the team's MVP. Gingerich has played with the Elkhart Futbol League since 1998.
Gingerich is a 1997 graduate of Tri-State University in Angola, Ind. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He and his wife, Jessica, currently reside in Elkhart.