PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Bob Reasso announced the addition of two members to his coaching staff on Wednesday. Former Rutgers standout Rob Johnson comes aboard as an assistant coach, while Jason Higgins was named Coordinator of Soccer Operations. In addition, current assistant Jeff Zaun has been promoted to Associate Head Coach.
“With the addition of Rob and Jason, we have assembled a staff that gives us a great opportunity to get back to the Final Four and win a National Championship,” said Reasso.
Johnson played under Reasso from 1991 through 1996, tallying 30 points (13 goals, 7 assists) in Rutgers’ magical run to the NCAA Semifinals in 1994. One of the most prolific scorers in Rutgers soccer history, Johnson amassed 90 points, the sixth-most all-time at Rutgers. His 35 goals are tied for seventh all-time, while his 20 career assists are tied for eighth on the RU charts. Johnson’s 12 game-winning goals are tied for fifth all-time. His 35-point performance (13 G, 9 A) in 1991 is the 11th most single-season points in the history of the program. Johnson was also a member of the Rutgers varsity wrestling team for one season in 1996.
After Rutgers, Johnson played professionally with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars from 1996-97, while also competing in several A-League teams from 1997-99. Johnson also has several years of coaching experience, entering his fourth year as the head coach of the New Jersey State ODP program. He has also coached several South Jersey youth teams. Most recently, Johnson served two years as the head coach of Gloucester County Community College from 2000-2002.
Johnson has a good relationship with the Rutgers coaching staff. In addition to playing for Reasso, he was a teammate of Zaun’s for two seasons (1991-92). The two also competed together with the MetroStars during the 1996 season.
“ Since I stopped playing, I wanted to teach the game to others,” said Johnson. “Since my playing days at Rutgers, I have maintained a good working relationship with everyone in the Rutgers soccer program. This is a great opportunity for me. It means a lot to come here and work for a program that I played through. I am looking forward to coming aboard and helping Coach Reasso build a high-caliber program.”
“It is a wonderful opportunity to bring Rob on as an assistant coach,” said Reasso. “He bleeds Rutgers red and we know he will do an outstanding recruiting and coaching job.”
Higgins, originally from Cape Elizabeth, ME, graduated from Springfield College in 1999 with a degree in psychology, before earning his masters of education at Springfield in 2001. He enjoyed a four-year playing career at Springfield, winning numerous All-Conference Awards and was also a two-year member of the tennis team. While in graduate school at Springfield, Higgins served as assistant coach of the school’s junior varsity soccer program in 2000, before becoming an assistant with the varsity squad in 2001. In the summer of 2001, he was named head coach of Division III Schreiner University in Texas, serving through the 2002 season. Higgins also organized two club teams during his time in Texas. His post-college playing experience included competition in an indoor semi-pro league in Northampton, MA.
“This is a great opportunity for me to not only get into Division I coaching, but be a part of one of the best programs in the country,” said Higgins. “I am excited to work with such a highly-reputable program.”
“We are delighted to welcome Jason to the Rutgers program,” said Reasso, who also earned his degree from Springfield College. “He brings an outstanding educational background with a successful playing career. His head coaching experience makes him a tremendous asset to our program.”
Entering his fourth season on the Scarlet Knights’ coaching staff, Zaun whas been promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach. He will continue to head up the program’s recruiting efforts.
“It shows me the faith and confidence Coach Reasso has in me,” said Zaun. “I am excited for the opportunity to further help this program expand through recruiting.”
“This is a reward for the tremendous job Jeff has done for us since
coming aboard,” Reasso said. “He has done an outstanding job heading
up our recruiting and his help, both in the office and on the field, is invaluable.”