(Southeast Missourian file)
Dusty Wengert's wife advised him not to tell his team that he was stepping aside.
"She really couldn't believe I was doing it," he said. "She actually told me not to tell the girls because she thinks I'll be back before next year starts. But I just told her I haven't seen her since the honeymoon, and that's something I want to do."
Wengert ended his seven-year stint as the St. Vincent girls soccer coach Tuesday. He announced the news during a team meeting.
"It's not the easiest decision I've ever had to make by any means, but it's probably the right one," he said.
Wengert listed two reasons for his decision to step aside after posting a 130-42-2 record at his alma mater.
"One, I'm the boys basketball coach up at Valle Catholic, and I'm so exhausted physically and mentally after that season," he said. "Just being a long season. I want to make sure I'm ripped and ready to go in everything I do. That was one reason. A second reason that we just learned a couple weeks ago is that me and my wife are expecting our first child in January. I want to be around for that."
The 31-year-old Wengert led the Indians to the Class 1 state title in 2009 and a third-place finish in 2010. St. Vincent then finished second in the state last season before falling to St. Pius in the district title game earlier this month.
"I've been at the helm seven years, been in a district championship six of those seven years, winning three of them and losing three of them," he said. "I've had the luxury of being at my alma mater, where sometimes expectations can be high when you return to your alma mater.
"I've had great girls. I've had girls that have wanted to come in and learn from Day 1 when I took over the program. The excitement in the eyes and the faces of those girls when I walked through the doors was just beaming off the walls. I still got that today when we called the meeting. Some of those smiles and everything turned to frowns and some watery eyes, but it wasn't an easy decision by any means."
St. Vincent athletic director Bruce Valleroy said he predicted Wengert would step aside after learning that Wengert's wife is pregnant.
"He's done a great job the seven years he's done it," Valleroy said. "He put St. Vincent soccer on the map with the state championship, second place, third place. Just a great job he's done."
Valleroy said he couldn't help but think back to conversations with Wengert before his former student took the job.
"He was a little reluctant at first," Valleroy said. "He didn't know if he knew soccer, and I'm like, ‘I trust you. I know you. You'll do a great job.' He's probably done a much better job than anyone ever thought he would be."
Wengert predicts a bright future for the person selected to replace him.
"You've got a lot of good pieces coming back still," he said.
Valleroy said he's still in the early stages of finding a replacement and that there isn't much rush since the season won't start for another 10 months.