Coach Bob Reasso’s return to Pfeiffer is sending the Falcons to new heights in men’s soccer.
It hasn’t taken long for Reasso to turn around a Falcons program that won just one game in 2012. Unbeaten Pfeiffer (14-0) is the nation’s top-ranked NCAA Division II team in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll and plays at King (Tenn.) in a Conference Carolinas match Saturday.
“I took what I inherited, which was a great bunch of kids, at Pfeiffer,” said Reasso, 64. “It took a little while for them to believe in what we were trying to do, because they’d been losing so much. But once we broke through that barrier, we really haven’t looked back.”
Reasso was just the right fit for Pfeiffer, located in the small Stanly County town of Misenheimer (about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte). A Falcons star in the mid-1970s, Reasso is better known in national soccer circles as the long-time coach at Rutgers, where he led the Scarlet Knights to the 1990 College Cup final with a team that included future U.S. national team standout Alexi Lalas.
After compiling a 29-year record of 351-183-71, Reasso left Rutgers in 2009 to become athletics director at Division III Husson (Maine).
Players make good coaches. Not the other way around.
“But I found out pretty quickly I still had the coaching bug in me a little bit, I guess,” said Reasso.
In 2013, Reasso returned to Pfeiffer -- where the soccer program had fallen on hard times -- as coach and athletics director. Reasso quickly recruited two players around which he could start the rebuilding process in goalkeeper Nicholas Dulac and forward Nathan Regis.
“We were very fortunate to have Nicholas and Nathan to help get us started,” said Reasso. “Then I think maybe my experience might have kicked in, with recruiting and some different training methods.”
Pfeiffer has held the top spot in the Division II national rankings for two weeks
After going 1-15-2 in 2012, the Falcons won 10 games in Russo’s first season of 2013. They won a school-record 17 games in 2014, winning the conference championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament.
The upward trend continues this season. Pfeiffer has held the top spot in the national poll for two consecutive weeks. Now a junior, Regis has 17 goals (second nationally entering the week) and is closing in on the school’s career record of 49. Dulac, who has missed four games with a concussion, has five shutouts this season. His 10 clean sheets in 2014 is a single-season school record.
46 Career goals by junior striker Nathan Regis
Pfeiffer’s 3-0 victory against Tusculum (Tenn.) on Sept. 30 was Reasso’s 400th career victory. Only 40 other coaches in college soccer history have hit that milestone.
“This has been a special season and we have a really good thing going right now at Pfeiffer,” said Reasso. “But I say it all the time. Players make good coaches. Not the other way around.”