BANGOR — Bob Reasso doesn’t mince words.
The former National (Men’s) Soccer Coach of the Year at Rutgers University (N.J.) has high expectations for Bangor’s Husson University where he was named the athletic director on Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at Husson.
He had been the senior associate director of athletics since May 1 and he will replace Cindy Connelley, who has stepped down to return to full-time teaching in the school of education and complete her doctoral research.
Reasso wouldn’t discuss the terms of his contract but he did say it was a multi-year deal and he begins the job on Thursday.
The 59-year-old Reasso, who compiled a 351-183-71 record at Rutgers, has a blueprint for success and is “very excited” about becoming the AD and implementing his blueprint.
“I like the facilities but we need to improve them. We are going to reorganize the senior administrative staff,” said Reasso. “It’s Division III athletics and make no bones about it, it’s about student-athletes first. But since I’ve been in a very high level Division I program, I’m going to try to build an infrastructure that more closely assimilates to a Division I infrastructure than a Division III infrastructure.”
Husson teams earned six NCAA Division III regional tournament berths this past season but none of them reached the national tournament.
Reasso hopes to change that.
“I want to take this program to the next level,” he said. “We have the ability here to recruit. We have the ability here to win. We want to win in the right way but I see no reason why we can’t compete with the NESCAC schools [i.e. Bates, Colby, Bowdoin, Williams, Amherst, etc,] and the top Division III schools in the country, let alone New England,” said Reasso.
He added that his job is to “help our student-athletes and coaches be successful and give them the tools to be successful.”
He said he and his family (wife Michelle, daughter Danielle and son Bobby) enjoy the Bangor area, calling it “a wonderfully enlightened and vibrant community” and that was another of the lures that encouraged him to take the original job as senior associate director of athletics.
“The sense of community meant a real lot to Michelle and my family,” he said.
Connelley, who took over as AD from Rick Stephens in December, 2008, said she was hired as an interim AD and said handling dual roles as an AD and a professor is “very difficult.
“The first time I talked to Bob, I knew he was the right guy for the job,” said Connelley. “He’s a perfect fit. He can handle the marketing and empower the student-athletes. He’s a workaholic.”
“He’s a coaches’ athletic director,” said Husson baseball coach Jason Harvey. “He’s energetic, he’s a real go-getter. And he’s willing to stick his neck out for the department. That’s what you look for in an AD.”
“His enthusiasm is refreshing,” said women’s basketball coach Kissy Walker.
“He has a lot of positive energy. He will elevate the department,” said men’s basketball coach Warren Caruso.
Women’s soccer coach Keith Bosley shared the sentiments expressed by his colleagues.
“He’s a soccer guy, I’m thrilled,” chuckled Bosley. “He’s terrific. He has a good kind of balance, composure but energy and enthusiasm.
“I feel that he feels very renewed and excited and that he will be very supportive of the staff,” said Bosley.
Reasso said they have some “brilliant coaches” at Husson and the recent additions to the Husson staff of men’s soccer coach Jeff Gettler and associate head football coach and assistant athletic director Sean Murphy are positive developments for the program.
“Jeff Gettler was a Division I coach, he is a dear friend and one of the finest coaches in the country on any level,” said Reasso. “Sean is a brilliant young coach with incredible character. He’ll make a major mark on the football program and help [head football coach Niles Nelson] win.”
Reasso said Connelley “accomplished a great deal” during her tenure and thanked her and newly-appointed Husson president Robert Clark for their support and giving him this opportunity.
Reasso will be the fourth athletic director in two years at Husson but Bosley doesn’t consider that a negative.
“I’m taking the philosophy that stuff happens. I think Husson keeps trying to get better, keeps trying to make progress and that’s what we’re doing,” said Bosley.
“To tell you the truth, I think we got really lucky to get Bob Reasso here. And Jeff Gettler. And Sean Murphy. They’re three great guys,” said Bosley.
In regards to the athletic director’s carousel, Reasso said, “hopefully I’ll stop that trend.”
Gabby Price was the athletic director for five years before resigning in August, 2008 to devote more time to his head football coaching job at the school, a position he resigned from in June 2009.