UPDATE: Guys, this is real. No official confirmation from the team, but...look, you'll have to trust me. It's real.
By now I'm sure you've all read the big news. The Boston Globe reports that Jay Heaps is set to be named the next New England Revolution head coach. Apparently the team will make the announcement tomorrow, and a press conference will be held on Wednesday.
I haven't been able to get a comment from the team yet (which is why there's a question mark in the headline), but the Globe isn't in the business of rumor-mongering, so for the time being I'll accept this as fact. Thus, my initial reaction:
Look, I'm not a Heaps hater by any stretch of the imagination. While his commentating skills are questionable at best, the man was a top-class defender who was underrated outside of New England and has great leadership skills. He's also a guy who knows what it feels like to win; four Finals losses notwithstanding, Jay remembers what it's like to have the Revs be the team to beat.
The problem is, even if he knows what it's like to win, and knows how to win, that only applies on the pitch. Heaps is being pulled out of the commentator's box and thrown in the dugout in his first head coaching gig. Which is also his first coaching gig. Jay has zero experience and I can't help but think bringing in a guy with no coaching resume whatsoever is a huge mistake.
Don't get me wrong, it's worked for other teams. Jason Kreis is an MLS Cup-winning coach, and he basically stepped off the field one day as a player, and stepped on it the next as the head coach. Ben Olsen was given the job almost out of nowhere, and while DC missed the playoffs again this season, they made a marked improvement over last year. So this isn't the end of the world; Jay could be that guy.
I just don't think he is. I think he needs time as an assistant to learn how to temper his own emotion and channel his considerable knowledge and ability into a method that is constructive for running a team and a roster. Heaps was never one to keep a cool head...ever. Passion is great, but a coach needs to know when and how to use it. I really don't think Jay is going to be too good at that early on, and let's face it, this team needs to get a lot better very quickly. I don't think this fan base is going to lightly tolerate more mediocre seasons just because of a coach's learning curve.
Of course, there's always the theory that no one else wanted the job. I suppose that's possible, if unlikely. The organization interviewed at least a dozen candidates - I have to imagine at least one other guy was interested after the interview. I know we give the Revs organization a lot of stick for a lot of legitimate reasons, but it's still a job, and some of the coaches interviewed are still out of work.