Butler women’s soccer coach Tari St. John doesn’t shy away from challenges.
As a collegiate player, St. John helped establish what is now a nationally-renowned program at Purdue. As a head coach, she has put Butler on the map as a force to be reckoned with in the Horizon League.
After leading Pius XI High School to back-to-back state titles in soccer, St. John was a founding member of the Purdue women’s soccer team in the fall of 1998.
While playing under coach Rob Klatte at Purdue, St. John helped transform the Boilermakers from a Big Ten bottom-dweller to an NCAA tournament contender.
“Rob Klatte is probably the most impactful and influential coach that I’ve played under,” St. John said. “A lot of my philosophies have definitely derived from being under his tutelage. He was a great mentor and still is.”
Klatte spoke highly of St. John’s ability to recover from an ACL injury as a junior to become a co-captain as a senior and help lead Purdue on an NCAA tournament run.
“[St. John] was one of very few players that you could rest assured she was going to show up, battle and play with intensity every game,” Klatte said. “It says a massive amount about the wherewithal, determination and dedication that she possessed and still does possess.”
St. John used those qualities when she began her coaching career at Butler in 2004.
After serving as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs throughout the team’s 2004 and 2005 campaigns, St. John returned to West Lafayette to assist Klatte at Purdue.
Her tenure there didn’t last long and just a few months later, St. John received the head coaching position at Butler.
She immediately began to change the face of the women’s soccer program.
“The big reason I came to Butler had a lot to do with Tari,” senior goalkeeper Natalie Galovska said. “I saw that she had that determination and conviction to change the program, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
St. John wasted no time establishing the Bulldogs as contenders in the Horizon League.
The first Butler team she coached finished with a record of 5-11-3, including 2-5-2 in conference play.
Last year St. John led Butler to a 6-2 conference record and a No. 1 seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
At the end of the season, she was named the 2010 Horizon League Coach of the Year.
“Looking at what she has done during my four years is night and day,” Galovska said. “What’s crazy to me is how much better it’s going to get.”