- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 31, 2008
- 2 Comments
- Michael Hitchcock, Schellas Hyndman
FC Dallas is preparing to hire SMU head coach Schellas Hyndman as head coach and technical director, Buzz Carrick at 3rddegree.net reported on this morning.
Hyndman has spent 24 years as head coach of perennial national power SMU, where he has developed a reputation as a strong tactician and unmatched recruiter. He’s made SMU into one of the national powers in college soccer over the last few years.
Its more obvious that this is a Hunt hire more than a Hitchcock hire. It also makes me believe that this kind of hire puts Hitchcock’s days in Dallas as a GM numbered. Which some won’t find as a bad thing.
Also, the fact that the Hunts are giving Hyndman two positions at once leads me to believe they offered him security that they probably wouldn’t have with anyone else. It was believed that the next coach was going to be a lame duck without some sort of security from the owners.
There are good reasons now to believe Hitchcock’s days are numbered or he is a lame duck as GM with Dallas. He is under pressure as Carrick said to sell tickets. Obviously his dealings in the past in signing players hasn’t worked out as his two biggest flops/mistakes/busts/etc. were more to sell tickets than to improve the club. Those two signings were of course Denilson last year and Shaka Hislop the year prior. Neither worked out well for the club, both were a total waste in terms of money, and neither translated into better attendance figures.
In other words, the Hunts are probably growing tired of false promises from Hitchcock and are now taking this step as they figure those sellouts won’t come because of a coach like Hitchcock was previously thinking. And to be fair, only a few coaches in the world would translate into more tickets sold for a MLS club and none of those coaches would even want to coach in this league.
Carrick even talked about how the Hunts went about doing this hire:
Our sources indicate that while Hitchcock has been conducting his coaching search this week, the Hunts informed their GM they were talking to their own candidate. Yet talks with Hyndman apparently did not progress enough to tell Hitchcock to cease interviewing coaching candidates, as such various names and candidates have been emerging in local media. Hitchcock is under immense pressure from HSG to sell tickets and was on a short leash with the Hunts this season to begin with, now it appears the Hunts have chosen to move away from the GM’s path and take a direction of their own choosing.
My take on the hire is still this, while I think Hyndman is a great coach on the college level, I still have my doubts about him on a professional level. I know he was a favorite of the owner group but the guy has never won a national title with SMU during his long run with the Dallas-based program.
Plus the hiring of him for two positions is very interesting. I thought the technical director part was smart as he does know the college talent very well and would be able to scout for the club better than Hitchcock. But for handling both positions, for a coach with no professional coaching experience, I find shocking.
I’m hoping though that this duel position thing is only temporary, meaning he takes on the role as the technical director and then finds a head coach for the team on his own terms. Think of what Mo Johnston did in Toronto, that’s kind of the direction I hope this hiring takes shape. It would make more sense in the long run with Hitchcock’s days numbered if he were to do that sort of thing.
There are two coaches who have succeeded in making the direct transition from college head coach to MLS head coach are Bruce Arena (with D.C. United) and Sigi Schmid (with the Los Angeles Galaxy). But let’s remember at the time those two came into the league, it was practically brand new. Fast forward to today and that isn’t quite the case. Also, both Arena and Schmid actually won national championships on the college level.
What do you all make of it? This hiring could be either a total success or a total disaster. But more importantly, just how much longer does Hitchcock have with the club?