The coaching search has been, for those hoping for a big fish, a multi-faceted bust. We have documented this all very thoroughly here, so it should come as no surprise to fans that perhaps FC Dallas is not a prime destination for potential coaching candidates.
For various reasons, FCD isn't going to get a big or proven name. It doesn't look likely, though I guess it's still technically possible. However, it's probably best to start preparing yourself for the reality of having a new face in charge of FCD. But while many of you might be contemplating jumping off of the Bank of America building (or if you're far enough north, the UNT clocktower) or switching allegiances to Houston, it isn't all as bad as it seems.
Let's look at this list of coaches:
Caleb Porter, Mike Petke, Marco Schallibaum, Jay Heaps.
Would those names have struck you as earth-shattering, team-transforming signings when the season started? No. Most certainly not.
Porter was coming off a rather embarrassing and public failure with the U-23s, while Petke and Heaps were huge gambles. Petke in particular seemed something of a consolation prize for New York fans, who had dreams of bigger and better managers coming in to save them from the mess that Hans Backe had left. Lots of people (myself included) questioned Schallibaum's hire as well, pegging him as one of those foreign coaches doomed to fail in MLS.
Those concerns were defenestrated by the end of the season. Without going into a long recap, it's safe to say that those coaches, even Schallibaum (given the team being in its second season and expectations), had decent seasons. Heck, Petke won the Supporter's Shield, Porter is now seen as a prodigy, and Heaps revived a languid and formerly-dead Revs team and really gave Kansas City hell in the playoffs.
Not all is lost. FC Dallas has been interviewing smart and promising candidates. Yes, they include college coaches, but Bruce Arena, Sigi Schmid, and Caleb Porter were all college coaches. It's not an indictment of a potential manager's skill to say he was a college coach. Snarky and misplaced elitism regarding the college game does smart and intelligent men a disservice. Everyone wants a big league, big-time name, but even those names are made somewhere. Whether starting out in the league or starting in college, those coaches were, at some point, absolute nobodies.
A good manager is a good manager. Period. It might take a person time to adapt, and maybe there are things that won't fully translate. It's entirely possible that they won't successfully make the transition and fall flat on their face as soon as they hit MLS. Those are all valid concerns regarding a college coach.
But that doesn't make it an inevitability, just a possibility. With the big names spurning, not interested in, or otherwise rejecting FC Dallas' attempts to sign them, it wouldn't be the worst idea to find capable men for cheap in the college ranks.
Assistant coaches are also a rich seam of talent waiting to be mined. How many coaches are secretly geniuses ? All sorts of factors, from age, a lack of exposure, or due to simply being next to Dominic Kinnear at the bench, contribute to people being overlooked by the average fan.
When "so and so" gets hired as coach and you've never heard of him, don't despair. You might not know who he is, but the people who hired him do, often for a good reason.
The Hunts have made legitimate and serious efforts to sign a coach but if they're blocked by league rules or simply can't offer an attractive enough destination, is it really on them? Jason Kreis would be a fool to pick FC Dallas over New York City, no matter what the money involved is.
So would it be so bad to peg the team's hopes to a rookie? If the big names don't want to come here, do we even want them here?
The Clock is Ticking
At this point, more fans should be concerned with even having a coach ready to go for the offseason.
That's what fans should be concerned about. There are important decisions that have to be made, and time is running out. You should have faith that there are ready and capable people out there ready to coach an MLS team. They will bring new ideas, youth, new-guy bravado and a host of other potential positives.
But they need to get here, and quick. It would be silly to make crucial personnel decisions without the man in charge of the team there to voice his opinion. But that's entirely possible at this point.
Let's not despair. You never know if another Mike Petke is hiding somewhere, waiting to be found.