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Toronto names new coach after Carver's puzzling resignation
by Ridge Mahoney, April 30th, 2009 7AM
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[MLS] Unlike its revolving-door policy with players, Toronto FC has gone for continuity in hiring former first assistant coach John Cummins to replace John Carver as its head coach.

Cummins, 37, joined TFC a year ago to team up again with Carver after the pair had worked together in 2007 at English club Luton Town. He is the interim head coach until the end of the season.

"I'd like to thank [team management] for giving me this opportunity," Cummins said in a team press release announcing the appointment. "It's a fantastic club and along with the staff here we're looking to take this further and bring a little bit of success to the club along the way. "

As events unfolded last week that led to Carver's resignation, Cummins assumed the mantle of command. He directed operations from the bench last Wednesday as Carver watched from a private box and relayed instructions via telephone as TFC beat Chivas USA, 1-0, and on Sunday following Carver's resignation, guided the team from the bench as it beat Kansas City by the same score.

Director of soccer Mo Johnston and TFC team management have retained assistant coach Nick Dasovic, goalkeeping coach Mike Toschak, and strength and conditioning coach Paul Winsper. No additions to the quartet are planned, Johnston said.

"Chris has done a wonderful job on the sideline," Johnston said. "I think the staff has assisted perfectly in conjunction with Chris. When you break it all down, within the locker room, the respect factor, it was an easy decision."

Cummins is a native of Watford who worked with youth teams and academy programs for Watford FC and Luton Town prior to joining TFC. At Watford he worked with former England national team coach Graham Taylor. This is his first assignment as head coach of a pro team.

Carver cited disagreements with MLS over officiating and operational details as reasons for his resignation. After being fined $750 last week for criticizing a penalty kick by which FC Dallas scored the winning goal, he said the league reprimanded him for coaching from the luxury box during the Chivas USA game and told him he had to be on the bench. He criticizied league officials after learning a DVD of his sideline behavior had been shown to referees as an example of what not to tolerate.

He refuted speculation that former England international Alan Shearer, a friend and colleague from his days at Newcastle, had a job waiting for him, or health concerns had prompted the decision.

"John was a great coach and for me I picked up so many coaching things from John," said Cummins. "He's so respected in the UK and coaching-wise he's outstanding. I look at everyone I work with ... and try to take little bits from everybody."

Those consecutive wins lifted TFC to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 3-2-2 record, and first up for the interim head coach is a home date Saturday with defending league champion Columbus, which incredibly is mired in last place without a win this season.

"We've got a big month coming up with things like the Canadian [Championship] and things like that," said Cummins. "Every game is important for this club and it's important to have that same attitude in every game."

 



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