OSHAWA, Ont. – Vaso Vujanovic announced Monday that he would be retiring from his position as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) men's soccer head coach.
"I want to thank UOIT, the varsity staff, my coaching staff and all players - present and alumni - for the opportunity to create and foster the men's soccer program," said Vujanovic. "The last seven years have been such a pleasure but also challenging as together we built a solid foundation for the program to flourish and continue its success."
Vujanovic has been the head coach of the men's soccer program since its inception beginning with an exhibition season in 2009 followed by six seasons in Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
"I can't express how influential Vaso has been as a member of the UOIT coaching community and his personality and character will certainly be missed," said Scott Barker, manager of intercollegiate athletics. "After 27 years of coaching at the collegiate level and most recently seven years building the UOIT men's program from scratch, the time had come for him to retire and allow the next head coach to start a new chapter."
Since joining the Ridgebacks in 2009, Vujanovic has laid the groundwork to build the program into a perennial contender, having qualified for the playoffs in the past two seasons.
The program had plenty of memorable moments under the guidance of Vujanovic that included their inaugural OUA match as they topped the Brock Badgers 4-2 in St. Catharines.
In 2014, the program advanced to the OUA quarter-finals, winning their opening round match against Carleton in their first-ever playoff appearance.
Vujanovic and his coaching staff put an emphasis on recruiting and developing high caliber student-athletes on and off the field. His players have earned four CIS academic all-Canadian awards, four OUA all-star awards, 22 all-academic awards and two scholastic awards for having the highest GPA among all UOIT student-athletes.
With a career spanning over four decades, Vujanovic has established himself as one of the premier coaches in the country having also coached the Durham College men's and women's soccer programs to provincial and national prominence.
The Oshawa resident began coaching with the Durham College men's soccer team in 1973 and led the team for 17 seasons. He compiled a dominating overall record of 128-35-7 with a phenomenal winning percentage of .774, leading the Lords to two provincial titles (1980 & 1988). From 1984 to 1989, Durham won six straight divisional titles and OCAA medals. In total, the Lords won an amazing 12 OCAA medals (two gold, five silver and five bronze) under Vujanovic's leadership.
Vujanovic earned top honors in the country as he was named the inaugural Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) coach of the year when the award was introduced in 1988.
In 1999, Vujanovic returned to the Durham College athletic program as he took on the role as the women's soccer head coach. The Lords were dominant over the next ten years as the team never failed to qualify for the OCAA championship (final four) while Vujanovic racked up an incredible 119-37-11 overall record as head coach. The Lords were the pinnacle of collegiate soccer having won five provincial titles (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, & 2007) over seven seasons.
Vujanovic was inducted into the Durham College Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the OCAA Hall of Fame in 2011.
He was also heavily involved with the Durham Region Soccer program development for over four decades focusing on player and coaching development, coaching various youth teams, including both genders and different age groups. He was involved in Durham Region Soccer Association (DRSA) on the executive level for many years.
A formal search to secure a new men's soccer head coach will begin immediately.
Source: UOIT Ridgebacks