QUINCY -- Quincy became Dave Musso's home away from home.
St. Louis always remained his home, so the opportunity to challenge himself professionally while returning to his roots led him back there.
Musso, 35, resigned Monday after 12 seasons as the Quincy University women's soccer coach to become the head coach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
"I called my best friend, Kevin Vaninger, and the first thing I said to him was, ‘Twelve years and I'm coming home," Musso said. "And he was so pumped. It's things like that which made me know this was the right decision. I'm excited to touch base and build those relationships back up again.
"That's my life. That's where I grew up."
Quincy is where he learned to lead a program and prospered as a head coach.
Musso, a 2004 QU graduate, was a four-year player on the men's soccer team. He replaced Bill Postiglione as the Hawks' coach in 2006 and made the Hawks an immediate presence on the national level. Quincy earned an NCAA Tournament berth in each of Musso's first eight seasons and 10 of his 12 seasons overall.
The Hawks hadn't been in the NCAA Tournament since 1995 when Musso took over.
Musso compiled a 165-64-26 overall record and a 119-36-13 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. His teams won four GLVC regular-season titles and two GLVC Tournament championships. He was named the GLVC Coach of the Year four times, including this fall after the Hawks went 13-1 in the league.
He twice was named the Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
"The level of success and the consistency of success he has had is unparalleled," said Marty Bell, QU's vice president of intercollegiate athletics. "You look around Division II around the country at different programs, not just soccer but any program, that kind of consistency is pretty hard to match."
Bell said a national search for Musso's replacement will begin immediately.
"Because of the success we've had and the consistency of that success, it will draw in a level of candidate far different than other programs that have had to do a search," Bell said. "There's a certain level of attractiveness because of the caliber of the program and the ability to win that will draw in a certain kind of candidate."
Musso inherits a Lindenwood program coming off a 5-12-1 season in which the Lions finished 2-8-1 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Since becoming an NCAA Division II program in 2013, the Lions have enjoyed just one winning season. Laurie Kaminski resigned as the head coach in November. Former QU men's soccer player Jeff Vaninger, Kevin's younger brother, was Kaminski's assistant and will remain on staff as Musso's top aide.
"I've always had it in the back of my head and my eye on that Lindenwood job," Musso said. "I always thought if that ever opened up I would definitely be interested in it because it allows me an opportunity to do what I love, which is coaching and helping people grow, in a place that I grew up and where my family is.
"I've been away for 12 years. It's been great, but this just feels right. In life, this is my call to make a move and head home."
While it was admittedly difficult to tell his players he was leaving, Musso has faith the Hawks will continue to thrive.
"We're leaving it in good hands and in good shape because it's a great school, and it has the resources to run a successful program," Musso said. "It has great academics. The athletic facilities are great, and then the people, too. We have people who get it here."
It's why Quincy will remain his home away from home.
"I'll come back and see great people in our department and around town who I have built relationships with," Musso said. "Something inside me is telling me it's the next chapter, the next adventure in my life. That's something I'm excited about."
THE MUSSO FILE
Here is a look at the Quincy University women's soccer team's final record in each of Dave Musso's 12 seasons as head coach:
Season Conf. Overall
2006 11-2-0 16-5-0
2007 10-3-0 14-6-1
2008 9-3-0 12-7-2
2009 10-2-1 15-6-1
2010 9-2-3 14-5-3
2011 11-4-0 15-5-2
2012 12-2-0 16-3-2
2013 12-0-3 18-1-4
2014 7-6-2 8-8-4
2015 9-3-3 14-4-4
2016 6-8-1 6-10-2
2017 13-1-0 17-4-1
Totals 119-36-13 165-64-26