Hanauer and Brian Schmetzer go all the way back toward the beginning of the last decade, when the former hired the latter to coach the USL Sounders.
Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer said Wednesday night that he “couldn’t be happier” that Brian Schmetzer coached himself into a full-time gig, a process that culminated in the stripping of Schmetzer’s interim tag at the club’s annual business meeting.
Hanauer and Schmetzer go all the way back toward the beginning of the last decade, when the former hired the latter to coach the USL Sounders, and it was Hanauer’s influence that helped persuade Sigi Schmid to take on Schmetzer as his top assistant when the club made the leap to Major League Soccer.
But it was still worth asking: Why make the move now rather than at the end of an ongoing playoff run? And what of the wide-ranging coaching search the front office mentioned when Schmid was let go in late July?
Below are Hanauer’s answers in full:
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“It was pretty obvious early on that (Schmetzer) had garnered the support and gotten the locker room and everybody rowing a boat in the same direction,” Hanauer said. “The results followed. Ownership, management got together and said, ‘if this thing goes a certain direction, why are we going to wait?’ We’re certainly not going to go through a process of interviewing people if we know we’ve got the right man for the job. Over the last few weeks, we kind of landed on a decision and tried to time it in a rational way.
“We also believe that Brian is very level-headed. He’s going to leave here tonight excited, and the players are going to be excited for him. But the message first thing in the morning is that it’s back to work, we haven’t done anything yet. We can’t overlook Dallas on Sunday. It’s going to be a war, going to be a battle. He’s going to have the guys right mentally, and he’ll be right mentally.
“We didn’t proactively go out and start a real search. Perhaps that was more of a figure of speech, but the intention was to very shortly start a search. We got a lot of resumes, as you might imagine. But again, shortly after making Brian interim, it was pretty clear that things were heading in a very good direction. Once they were heading in that good direction, I think (general manager) Garth (Lagerwey) and I both assumed and hoped that Brian would be the new coach. For sure, we also, from a practical standpoint, thought it would be really disruptive to start going through a coach search when our current coach is leading us back up the standings and into a playoff position.”
Seattle takes a 3-0 lead into the second leg of its Western Conference semifinal series against FC Dallas on Sunday in Frisco.