John Rootes was hired as head coach for the Lynn University men’s soccer team on March 31, 2008, becoming the fourth head coach in program history. During his time with the Fighting Knights he has become one of the most successful coaches in school history; posting an impressive 113-31-10 (.766) overall record, winning two NCAA Division II National Championships (2012 & 2014) and claiming four Sunshine State Conference regular season crowns and two SSC tournament titles. In all, he has made five NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the national title game three times.
Additionally, Coach Rootes has coached 25 All-America selections, 35 All-SSC picks and six SSC Players of the Year and his 2012-14 teams had the highest team grade-point average in the nation among all NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA institutions.
These numbers add to an already distinguished career which has now seen him win three national championships as a head coach, take four schools, Lynn, Savannah College of Art and Design, Clayton State and Southern New Hampshire, to the postseason and record a 388-123-30 (.745) career mark.
The 2014 season may have been Rootes’ greatest season to date as he broke in 14 new faces and integrated them into a squad which had only gone 11-5-2 the year before. Not even a top-25 squad at the start of the season, the Fighting Knights quickly built up steam by opening the year 6-0. A loss and tie to Rollins were the only blemishes on an otherwise spotless record as Lynn would end up finishing the season 19-1-1 while becoming just the second team to record the hat trick of trophies in SSC history: league regular season, conference championship and NCAA Division II National Champions.
Several players would flourish on the 2014 squad led by captain and central defender Jason Sangha, who became only the second player in the program’s illustrious history to be honored as a four-year All-American. Chris Hellman had the best NCAA season in school history as well, leading the nation in goals (28), goals per game (1.33), points (69), points per game (3.29) and game-winning goals (11) to garner unanimous First Team All-America recognition.
The trio also led Lynn to other historical heights in SSC lore with Hellmann gaining Player and Offensive Player of the Year, Sangha Defensive Player of the Year and Rootes Coach of the Year accolades to make Lynn the first school in conference history to sweep those major awards.
Rootes put together consecutive seasons (2011-12) for the Fighting Knights that had not been seen since 1992-93 after posting back-to-back NCAA National Championship appearances. Expectations were soaring following a national runner-up appearance in 2011 and 10 starters returning. Lynn did not back down, winning the SSC regular season title with a 7-1 record and then going on to claim the fourth national championship in program history and 20th for Lynn overall. The Blue & White finished the season 20-2-1 for the program’s first 20-win season since taking home the national title in 2003 and sixth overall.
Coming off one of the most difficult seasons in school history and his career, Rootes rebounded in 2011 to bring the Fighting Knights to the brink of their fourth national title. Lynn won its second SSC regular season championship under its skipper, outlasted two nationally-ranked opponents in penalty kick shootouts in the postseason and knocked off the top-ranked team in the nation (Franklin Pierce) in the national semifinals before falling to Fort Lewis 3-2 in overtime of the national title match.
Losing five All-Americans in 2009 would cause a lot of teams to see a dip in production but Rootes was able to retool quickly and keep the Blue & White soccer program as one of the premiere soccer teams in the country. Despite not being ranked in the top-25 in the preseason, Lynn jumped out to a 10-0 start to ascend to the No. 1 ranking. The Knights closed out the season ranked 23rd nationally with 14-4-1 overall record and their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Not daunted by inheriting one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country, he led the Fighting Knights to the best record in the nation (18-2) in 2008 while winning Sunshine State Conference regular season and tournament titles.
On top of helping the Blue & White reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and 10th overall, he oversaw a five-man senior class that earned All-America accolades and successfully converted defensive midfielder Jean Alexandre into one of the top forwards in the nation. Alexandre later became the highest drafted student-athlete in Lynn history when he was the 12th overall pick by Real Salt Lake in the Major League Soccer Superdraft.
Formerly the head coach at Savannah College of Art and Design, Rootes became the fourth coach in program history on March 31, 2008. He brought with him a proven track record, one in which he averaged just over 14 wins a season and reached the postseason 11 times, winning the 1989 NCAA Division II National Championship at SNHU.
Amassing a 47-26-2 (.627) record in four years at SCAD, Rootes led the Bees to the NAIA Region XIV Tournament finals in three consecutive seasons. In just his second year at Savannah, he established the program record for wins (13-4-1) while earning the program’s first national ranking (as high as no. 18) and postseason appearance.
A new challenge awaited Rootes at Clayton State as he took over a program that had only two winning seasons prior to his arrival. Three years into his tenure, the Lakers posted an 18-3-1 record and earned their first Peach Belt Championship and NCAA Regional bid. CSU would go on to record a 69-38-9 (.634) mark during his six-year stay, winning two conference championships and securing a pair of NCAA bids.
During his time at SNHU, Rootes compiled a 169-30-11 (.831) record and elevated the program to national prominence. In 10 seasons, the Penmen were consistently ranked in the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America National Top 10 and earned three 20-win seasons, six NCAA Division II Tournament bids, four appearances in the Elite Eight and an NCAA National Championship in 1989. Nine of his players were named NSCAA All-Americans and 15 have gone on to professional soccer careers.
Prior to becoming a head coach in New Hampshire, Rootes worked as the senior assistant coach under I.M. Ibrahim at NCAA Division I powerhouse Clemson University. While with the Tigers, he helped the school to the 1987 National Championship and the 1988 World Collegiate Championship.
As a player, Rootes was a four-year starter for legendary coach Barry Barto at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Sciences (now Philadelphia University) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Rootes led Textile to an undefeated season and a No. 1-ranking in the final coaches' poll in 1980, and guided UNLV to its first NCAA Tournament bid in 1983.
Rootes was honored twice as an NSCAA All-West striker and was a member of the 1984 United States Amateur team. He also played two years of professional soccer for the Boston Storm in 1994 and 1995. Rootes holds a U.S. Soccer Federation "A" license, an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a master's degree in sport science. Rootes and his wife, Alicia, have two children, Savannah and Thomas.