"Here's the ball," says Georgian Court University to Dino Raso. "Now, kick it!"

The Lakewood institution's transition to full coed status by autumn 2013 moves ahead with the hiring of Raso as it's first-ever men's soccer head coach.

The Ontario native arrives on the Lakewood campus from Oakland City University in Indiana, where he has coached for the past two years. He guided the NCAA Division II team to an 11-6-3 record earned Mid-East Region Coach of the Year honors from the National Christian College Athletic Association. He played college soccer at Eastern Illinois University and spent 14 seasons in Ontario's Hamilton Premier Division, as well as piling up a 75-9-2 record during five years as an amateur coach in Ontario.

Raso also coached Division 1 at Eastern Illinois University from 2005 through 2010, a run that included four consecutive trips to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. He started his coaching career at Barry University in Florida. School officials say that in addition to his 40-13-4 record over three seasons, Raso's teams won two Sunshine State Conference titles and two spots in the NCAA Division Tournament. Six of his players moved on to professional soccer.

"Coach Raso not only has the necessary coaching resume and soccer expertise to create and develop a successful men's soccer program here at Georgian Court," said Athletics Director Laura Liesman in a statement, "but he also possesses admirable traits that parallel GCU's Mercy core values and will greatly influence and benefit his future players."

Raso says he's excited over the move. "Georgian Court is steeped in academic and the kind of athletic tradition that I have longed to be a part of for quite some time," he said. "I cannot wait to create a program that I expect to be a force in the CACC in the very near future."