John Van Fleet — the highly-decorated and much-beloved teacher, coach and athletic director who over a 30-year career spent time as a coach and/or AD at Streator, Sterling and Woodstock high schools as well as in Iowa — passed away Friday morning after a 15-year battle with cancer, the Illinois Athletic Directors Association released.
"John was a great person and even better friend to all," the association tweeted Friday.
Van Fleet may be best remembered in the area for his time as athletic director and head football coach at Streator High School, where he spent eight years spanning 1992-2000. That came after spending more than a decade as a coach and AD in Iowa. After Streator, he spent three years at Sterling High School and three more at Woodstock before retiring after being diagnosed in 2004 with multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer.
Of his 24 years coaching high school athletes, Van Fleet spent 14 as a head football coach, 12 as a head track and field coach, two as a head baseball coach and one as a head softball coach.
His impact on students was well-recognized. Van Fleet received a National Federation of High Schools Citation Award in 2006; was selected to enter the Illinois Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2009; and was selected for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame in 2017, among other honors.