BANGOR, Maine — Bob Reasso called it an “incredibly difficult decision.”
But the Husson University athletic director said Monday that he will return to his alma mater, Pfeiffer University (N.C.), to serve as a vice-president, athletic director and the head men’s soccer coach beginning next month. Pfeiffer is an NCAA Division II institution.
He has been the athletic director at Husson since 2010 and has also served as an assistant coach with the men’s soccer team under Jeff Gettler the past two seasons.
Nineteen-year men’s basketball coach Warren Caruso will serve as the interim athletic director beginning May 10.
The 62-year-old Reasso, who compiled a 351-183-71 record in 29 years as the head soccer coach at Rutgers University (N.J.), said he and his family love Husson and the greater Bangor community.
“We’ve made so many wonderful friends on and off-campus. We’ve been embraced by the community. It’s going to be very, very difficult to move,” said Reasso. “But I’m a coach and that’s what I’ve been my whole life and this was an opportunity to coach again as well as still be an athletic director and a vice-president. [Pfeiffer administrators] pursued me and I eventually received an offer I couldn’t pass up.”
It is a multi-year deal. He wouldn’t divulge the financial terms but said he is being paid “accordingly.”
The Falcons have gone 4-28-3 the past two seasons.
“But I’ve never shied away from a challenge,” said Reasso.
He said he has had the opportunity to work with an “incredible staff and a great group of coaches” at Husson as well as “outstanding student-athletes.”
He called head athletic trainer, assistant AD and senior woman administrator Janine Gmitter “as good a professional as I have ever worked with.
“And I can’t say enough about [Husson] president Bob Clark. He is a great leader. Husson is lucky to have him. He has been unbelievable to work for,” said Reasso, a former national Division I soccer coach of the yea.
He was thankful for getting a chance to assist “dear friend” Gettler, saying “Jeff was great to me as were the players.”
Clark said in a press release that Reasso has been “an exceptional student-centered athletic director.”
Under Reasso, Husson athletic teams captured 15 conference championships and the student-athletes have had three straight semesters with a cumulative grade-point-average over 3.0.
They have also improved the facilities including the addition of a press box and lights for Boucher Field (soccer, lacrosse).
“Bob did a tremendous job,” said Caruso. “He really transformed a good athletic department into a great athletic department. He implemented so many positive changes that affected every sport and how we approached things.”
Husson has added several sports during Reasso’s time like women’s indoor and outdoor track and men’s cross country.
“That increases the visibility of the university and the athletic department,” said Caruso.
He said Reasso’s vast coaching experience was invaluable in his dealing with coaches “because he understands what we all go through on a daily basis.”
Reasso attended as many athletic events as he could, according to Caruso, and would send text supportive text messages to coaches after a game he couldn’t attend.
As the interim AD, Caruso said he is “hoping to carry on the things Bob has done and to bring some good ideas to the table until they find a full-time AD.”