Coaching changes happen all the time, but this is one you don’t see every day.
The USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds have hired one of the best coaches in league history away from rival Rochester Rhinos, but that’s not the rub of the story here
That Bob Lilley would be wanted by any number of teams is no surprise, but that he’s filling a vacancy caused by United States Soccer Federation’s requirement for Division II teams feels insane.
USSF requirements demand that a coach should hold its A License. Dave Brandt doesn’t have one despite terrific tenures with NCAA Division III college power Messiah and the D-1 program at the Naval Academy.
Pittsburgh missed the playoffs this year while Lilley again led a the low-budget Rhinos to the playoffs with assistants Mark Pulisic (Yes, that’s Christian’s dad) and Brendan Murphy, so this is a terrific pickup for Rochester.
But Brandt left a decent gig at Navy for this spot. Was there no solution for US Soccer?
“We are highly disappointed with this news, but understand the necessity to comply with the league’s decision,” Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger said. “Dave has been nothing shy of first class since joining the organization. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the Riverhounds and he has left the team in a significantly better position than when he arrived.”
Heck of a name on that owner, to be sure!
On the surface, this isn’t the fault of the USL or the Riverhounds, rather the requirements of D-II sanctioning. And we’re sure that Brandt was given some sort of notice to sort it out.
Those have probably been under a microscope after the NASL sued the USSF, but at some point it’s ridiculous to punish a good coach that Pittsburgh wished to employ because he hasn’t gone to your classes.