Walsh University has appointed longtime member of the Cavalier coaching staff John Fankhauser as its new Football Head Coach. Coach Fankhauser brings nearly 20 years of Walsh coaching experience to this position, most recently serving as Associate Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator, handling all aspects of the Cavs’ special teams and the defensive line. Hired under Walsh’s first football head coach, Jim Dennison, Fankhauser has coached both offensive and defensive positions as well as serving as the program’s longtime special teams’ coordinator.
During his tenure at Walsh, Coach Fankhauser has been an integral part of the program as it transitioned from the NAIA to the NCAA, and more recently from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), where the team finished 4-3 during its inaugural year. Coach Fankhauser has been willing and able to assume a multitude of roles throughout his tenure, always ready to take on new challenges and responsibilities to help the program be successful.
“We’re fortunate to have someone of John’s caliber within our own coaching staff. He truly embodies Walsh’s mission in his personal life and understands the University’s commitment to support student-athletes in the classroom and on the field, while also guiding them to become compassionate leaders within their communities,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dale Howard. “Over the years, I have witnessed John develop strong mentoring relationships with our student-athletes that have lasted well beyond their graduation from Walsh. His support among our football alumni is evident, and well deserved. I look forward to working with John and his staff as we build on our rich football legacy and the successes of our first year in the G-MAC.”
Before joining Walsh in 1998, Coach Fankhauser served as a student assistant at Youngstown State University where he was a member of the 1992 national runner-up team and the 1993 and 1994 championship teams. John coached special teams (1995-96) and graduated with a B.A. in history and a minor in psychology. In addition to his coaching duties at Walsh, Fankhauser has served 17 years as Walsh’s head athletics groundskeeper and was an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team from 1998 to 2004.
“I would first like to thank Walsh President Richard Jusseaume and Athletic Director Dale Howard for their confidence and support. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Jim Dennison for first bringing me to this University where I’ve been able to grow with a program that has enriched me both personally and professionally,” said Coach Fankhauser. “I’m excited for the next phase of Cavalier football and increasing our productivity in the G-MAC. But mostly, I look forward to mentoring our student-athletes and helping them to achieve their desired successes both on and off the field. The support I’ve received from our Walsh alumni, administration, student-athletes and former coaches has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated.”
John’s commitment to mentorship and service extends beyond the athletic field. He has been active in coordinating Cavalier athletic service opportunities in the local community, YMCA Youth Football Training Camps and, for the past nine years, he has been an active volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Stark County.
John earned his master’s degree in education from Walsh in 2006 and resides in North Canton with his wife Walsh alumna Christine (Anderson), daughter Emilia, and son Anderson.