San Jose Clash: Calloway out; Brian Quinn in

Laurie Calloway was fired as San Jose Clash head coach June 23, two days after the team lost its 10th game of the season, 3-1 in Tampa Bay. Club president Peter Bridgwater said he would name a replacement "quite soon." Brian Quinn is expected to be appointed. As a player, Quinn, a native of Northern Ireland, won seven indoor titles with the MISL's San Diego Sockers before attaining his U.S. citizenship and joining the U.S. national team. He played 48 times for the U.S. and was cut on the eve of the 1994 World Cup. He coached the Sockers in the CISL two seasons before their demise in May. Calloway is the second MLS coach fired this season, following the L.A. Galaxy's Lothar Osiander. Osiander had guided L.A. to the 1996 MLS Cup after a 17-15 regular season, but was let go after a 3-9 start this season. Only three MLS teams are still headed by their original coaches: D.C. United (Bruce Arena), Dallas (David Dir) and Kansas City (Ron Newman). Thomas Rongen voluntarily moved from Tampa Bay to New England in the offseason. After the inaugural season, Calloway was the only coach with a losing record (.469) who survived the ax. The others ù MetroStars' Eddie Firmani (.375), Colorado's Bob Houghton (.355), Columbus' Timo Liekoski (.273) and New England's Frank Stapleton (.469) ù were all fired during or immediately after the season. Calloway's situation became particularly tenuous when, in the midst of a five-game losing streak, several media outlets reported dissent among the players. In fact, the club even sent out a press release on a lengthy meeting between striker Eric Wynalda and Bridgwater, after which Wynalda refuted earlier reports that he wished to leave the team. And Bridgwater said he would address the "minor" administrative concerns that Wynalda had. A 3-1 win in Kansas City June 15 ended the losing streak, but the loss in Tampa proved Calloway's undoing. "It is with a great level of personal sadness that I make this decision," Bridgwater said. "Laurie has been a great personal friend, a colleague during World Cup '94, and he was a tremendously successful coach, both in the old North American Soccer League, and for me with the San Jose Earthquakes." Before joining the Clash, Calloway, a native of England, coached the S.F. Bay Blackhawks, with which he won an APSL title. His professional coaching career began with the Los Angeles Lazers of the ASL in 1978. In the NASL, he went 7-18 with the California Surf in 1980 and 14-20 with the Seattle Sounders in 1982. "Laurie has done his best under difficult circumstances this year," Bridgwater said. "The team's performance has been affected by injuries, national team call-ups and other factors beyond the coach's control. However, I've given the situation careful consideration and have decided to make a change. I have offered Laurie another position within the organization, which he is considering, because he possesses many excellent qualities besides coaching." The Clash is a league-run team, but Bridgwater and league officials said the decision was ultimately Bridgwater's. He had been having discussions with the league about Calloway's future. "In the end," said deputy commissioner Sunil Gulati, "it was Peter's decision. Mark Abbott oversees the three league-run teams, and Mark, [commissioner] Doug Logan and myself were kept abreast of the situation, but ultimately the decision is that of a team's general manager or president." "Firing Laurie doesn't mean the Clash's problems are over," said Clash defender Tim Martin, who also played under Calloway with the Blackhawks. "There are a lot of problems, among the players, that are still going on and that need to be taken care of. I don't think he [Calloway] realized how bad they were until it was too late .... "The losing wasn't entirely Laurie's fault. The players also have to take responsibility." At the time of his firing, the Clash was 5-10 and one point ahead of the last-place Galaxy, which had a game in hand. by Soccer America Senior Editor Mike Woitalla
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