MLS: Hankinson named Mutiny coach after Kowalski resigns

U.S. Project-40 Select coach Tim Hankinson has been named head coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny. Hankinson succeeds John Kowalski, who resigned following Saturday's 1-0 loss at Kansas City. Kowalski will remain with the Mutiny and MLS as a technical advisor for the foreseeable future. Mutiny assistant coach Lothar Osiander has also resigned. Hankinson will hire an assistant coach to replace Osiander. The hiring is imminent. The 43-year-old Hankinson, who previously served MLS as Director of Player Development, had a meeting scheduled with the Mutiny players today as well as an afternoon workout at Houlihan's Stadium. Tampa Bay is off until June 21, when it plays at Dallas. "There obviously has been a great deal of speculation concerning John's position for quite some time and now that we have come to the halfway point of the season, calendar-wise, I decided it was time to make a change," said Tampa GM Nick Sakiewicz. "In my mind, he was successful in his time here. He inherited a team in 1997 that was composed of several older players. He had no choice but to try to rebuild the team this year and I think history will be kind to him in terms of the players that he brought on board. Even though our record is nowhere near what we hoped or thought it would be, at 3-12, psychologically and emotionally, the players are still very much together as a team and that is as a direct result of John Kowalski. John has given us some tremendously talented young players that will be stars in this league for years to come." Sakiewicz feels Hankinson will be able to take the Mutiny and turn them into playoff contenders in the second half of the season. "When I hired John, Tim Hankinson was one of the short list of candidates for the position that I seriously considered," said Sakiewicz, "and when I decided to make the change, Tim was the first, and only, person I wanted to become our new head coach." A native of New York City, Hankinson has 225 career victories as a head coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. He coached collegiately at Oglethorpe (Ga.) University, DePaul and Syracuse, as well as with UMF Tindastol of Iceland and the A-League's Charleston Battery before taking over the Project-40 squad this year. "I am delighted and honored to be the team's new head coach, Hankinson said. "Even though the season is half over, we are far from being out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. I know we have a journey ahead of us, but I am looking forward to it and I believe that this team is talented enough to make its mark on MLS this season." An announcement about the coaching position of the U.S. Pro-40 Select team is expected later today.
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