Saints welcome Vagnini back with opens arms to serve as women’s soccer head coach

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The St. Clair College Saints welcomed Steve Vagnini home on Wednesday with open arms.

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The 54-year-old Vagnini guided the St. Clair women’s soccer programs for four seasons before leaving to become men’s head coach for the University of Windsor Lancers.

His stay with the Lancers lasted just a single season. After sitting on the sidelines watching for four seasons, Vagnini jumped back into the game with the Saints.

“It’s nice to be back,” said Vagnini, who is again head coach of the women’s team. “The college is my dream job. It’s the perfect place and the perfect atmosphere. St. Clair is my family.”

Vagnini guided the Saints from November of 2013 to April of 2017. In just the second year after reviving the indoor program, the Saints won gold at the OCAA championship and added a silver medal two years later. In 2015, St. Clair earned the school’s first outdoor medal in 15 years with a bronze at the OCAA championship. Along the way, Vagnini earned conference coach of the year honors three times as well as being named Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association coach of the year in 2015.

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“He was one of the most decorated and successful coaches in his time at St. Clair,” said Ron Seguin, who is vice-president of international relations, campus development and student services.

Vagnini was named head coach of the University of Windsor Lancers in the spring of 2017.

“He had an opportunity to coach his alma mater and it made a lot of sense and we fully supported that that was an advancement,” Seguin said.

Vagnini, who played goal for the Lancers in the ’80’s, guided the team to a 5-8-3 record his first season, but left after one campaign.

“I haven’t done anything,” Vagnini said of what coaching he’s done since leaving the Lancers. “I’ve helped with a few sessions here and there. I took a breather and then COVID hit and I was OK, but then you go and watch a couple of games and you miss it.”

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Vagnini replaces Kris Geier who stepped down after leading the Lancers to a bronze medal at this year’s OCAA indoor championship. Geier took over the program at the beginning of the indoor season after Gadeer Sobh resigned due to personal commitments.

“I saw the posting and thought this was made for me,” Vagnini said. “This is what I’ve wanted.

“You realize when you’re gone what you’ve got. When I left, I left and I deal with that and it was a decision I made. This came back up at the best time.”

Seguin told him at the time of his departure that the door was never closed to him returning.

“I told him, ‘If you ever come back, the door is wide open, if there was an opening,’ and it worked out this time,” Seguin said. “Steve contacted us when the job was posted and we were thrilled.”

Vagnini plans to meet with players eligible to return on Thursday and then trying to catch up on a late start to recruiting.

“We’re going to train to win,” Vagnini said. “I’m expecting kids to stay and build from that, but we’ll reach out to clubs and high schools right away.”

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