The clichÃ© home is where the heart is rings true for Nancy Mueller, who resigned as USF volleyball coach Friday to accept the head coaching position at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Mueller, who leaves after five years and a 106-60 record at USF, said her desire to be closer to family was the sole reason for her move.
“I always knew in my career that I wanted to get back closer to home eventually,” Mueller said. “And, that decision was nothing based on anything that went wrong here at South Florida.
“South Florida has been wonderful for me. They made a great counter offer, but it came down to just a personal decision for me.”
For the first time in her career, Mueller will be able to see her family during her spare time, as all of her sisters are no further than two hours away from UIC’s Chicago campus.
“To be able to have a great profession and also to have family close by, that’s something I’ve wanted my entire career, and I haven’t been able to have that,” Mueller said. “So now I get the best of both worlds.”
Claire Roach-Lessinger, an assistant during Mueller’s tenure whom Mueller has endorsed, will be named interim head coach until a permanent appointment is made.
“Nancy has meant a great deal to the success of the USF volleyball program,” senior associate athletic director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy said. “She will be missed, but departs having established a solid foundation for this program.”
Mueller leaves a team that she led to two NCAA Tournament appearances, two regular season Conference USA titles and one C-USA tournament championship.
“It’s real sad and hard to leave this program, because we put so much into it, but I’m real excited for the opportunity,” Mueller said.
Mueller is only the third coach ever to break the 100-win mark and has the second-highest winning percentage of all former coaches with .693. In the 2002 season, Mueller also entered the record books by being only the second coach in school history to guide her team to a 30-win season, when the Bulls finished 30-7. Not only will Mueller be remembered for team feats, she will be remembered for coaching the only All-American to ever come out of USF, Michelle Collier.