Winless Riverhounds part ways with Evans after five years as coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Riverhounds began the USL Pro season with high expectations. Two months later and as the league's only winless club, the team decided to make a change.
Coach Justin Evans was fired Monday, two days after a 1-0 loss to Rochester dropped the team to 0-4-3 and left it in last place in USL Pro.
Evans, a former MLS player and Peters Township graduate who began his pro playing career with the Riverhounds in 1999, was in his fifth season as coach.
“It was incredibly hard to do,” said Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney, who was a teammate of Evans during their pro careers. “Justin is a consummate professional and a guy who has been a big part of the Riverhounds for a long time, but a change had to be made.”
Evans was 28-46-28 in league matches, including playoffs, as the Riverhounds' coach. He remains tied for eighth on the club's all-time goal scoring list with 14 and is sixth in appearances for the club as a player with 101.
Evans declined to comment Monday.
Niko Katic, the Riverhounds' longest-tenured player and a coach in the team's youth academy, will take over interim head coach. Director of academy operations Scott Gibson will serve as an assistant coach.
“I have mixed feelings because I respect Justin,” Katic said. “But I'm a soldier for the team, and I will take this task on and try to make things right
“Hopefully, it will be exciting times to come, but right now, we need the support from the Steel Army and the rest of our fans.”
No other staff changes were announced, but Kutney said the team has begun contacting people for the head coaching position. Katic is not considered to be an option as Evans' permanent replacement, but he will be in charge for the team's two-game road trip this weekend to Wilmington and Charleston.
“Niko can bring us what we're missing the most right now, and that is for the team to play with passion, starting this weekend,” Kutney said.
The Riverhounds spent this offseason re-signing the core of their 2013 team, including USL Pro MVP Jose Angulo and league assists leader Matt Dallman. The team also made big offseason acquisitions, such as former Fulham striker Collins John, 2013 USL Pro MVP finalist Joseph Ngwenya and USL Pro veterans Anthony Obodai and Danny Earls.
Kutney said Evans was involved in some of the player personnel decisions, while others, such as the signing of Obodai, were his call in his role as CEO.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.