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Coaching decision looms for Chicago (and the newest candidate)

Who will the Chicago Fire hire to replace Juan Carlos Osorio?

That question has been hanging in the air in the Windy City for weeks now and Fire fans are growing understandably restless. According to sources, the Fire will make a decision by Friday, with Fire assistant Denis Hamlett still regarded as the front-runner for the position.

You can add another candidate to the list of coaches Fire president John Guppy has interviewed. Former Dallas Burn head coach and Chicago Fire assistant Mike Jeffries has been interviewed for the position. Jeffries, who was most recently an assistant coach at Duke University, spent three seasons with the Dallas Burn and compiled a 26-36-16 mark during that time.

Fire fans will remember Jeffries for his three seasons as Bob Bradley’s assistant coach with the Fire from 1998 to 2000. He was on the same staff with Hamlett during that time.

So what are Jeffries’ chances? Consider the other known candidates for the position: Hamlett, Paul Mariner, John Spencer and Frank Klopas. Jeffries is the only coach in the group with actual head coaching experience in MLS. Whether that proves to be an asset or detriment remains to be seen.

What is interesting is that new Fire owner Andrew Hauptman has taken a hands-on role in the hiring process. According to sources in Chicago, Hauptman has met personally with at least two of the candidates (both of whom went to Los Angeles to meet him) and is working closely with Guppy on the process.

What do you think of Jeffries as a candidate? Which of the above-mentioned coaches would you like to see hired? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would definitly go with Denis Hamlett. Even in JCO’s coaching forum this year, he admitted he couldnt have done it without him. He has been with the club since day one, and i believe he knows this club, this league, and these players probably better than anyone. why would you pick an assistant coach from another team, that we depise (mariner, NE), instead of picking our own assistant coach? A couple of games last year is not enough for him to prove what he is capable of. other positives, he speaks spanish, he has coached under good coaches, and we know he wont ditch us to go to NY!
    Our other options? Jeffries, yea he has been with us since day one as well, and probably deserves just as much of a chance as Hamlett. and klopas? if he couldnt handle the Storm, he probably couldnt handle the Fire.

  2. If Peter Nowak would agree to coach as soon as the Olympics are over, I could see going with an interim coach until then. Peter belongs back in Chicago (along with the OTHER Peter: Wilt).

  3. Firstly, congrats to Ives on his new site.

    More importantly, ALL of the candidates for the FIRE job are underwhelming. In the latest version of MLS, one where the international player is emphasized, neither Hamlett nor Jeffries look to be able to inspire the talented foreigner to come to MLS. Mariner’s connections to the overpriced English market will [as is the case with Nichol] prove to be without fruit. Witness that NE has never been able to find a single SI signing under Nichol, though NE’s cheapness may have a part to play with their SI signings.

    Osorio’s true value as a coach is not in his professional approach to training and matches. [Something that was sorely lacking in the aftermath of Sir Dave The Short’s Country Club atmosphere and emphasis on incumbency with the roster.] Nor is his value found in his tactical approach to the game. It lies in his connections that span 3 continents. It lies in his ability to bring player value to the table moreso than any other coach in MLS. It lies in the signings of Conde and Wanchope for less than DP money.

    Guppy was pantsed in the negotiation for Osorio’s services. He has been further shown to be inept in that he failed to have a replacement at the ready from Day ONE of Osorio’s tenure. Guppy is a clown, and if God is merciful, Hauptman will fire his sorry @rse, and hire the best FO free agent in Peter Wilt. This, irrespective of which underwhelming MLS assistant Guppy hires.

  4. Did Hamlett have enough time to make an impact the first time around? I didn’t think he was head coach for long enough to make his impact. I think he should get a chance – he knows the team well and seems to have the respect of the team.

  5. I vote Mariner. I think we need some stability here and he should provide it. But, I think the club desperately wants a hispanic coach but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards this time. Osorio was the perfect coach (Wanchope mistake notwithstanding).

    The new SBI is a great new year’s treat. Even if Ives doesn’t pass Goff this year in blog votes, he will almost certainly beat his blog posts per day record in 2007 (unofficial winner by my count with Sideline Views coming a distant second, especially in quality) and that’s all that really matters as I slog away at work.

  6. As much as I’d like to support Hamlett for the job, I just can’t. I know he didn’t have Blanco, but daaaaaaammmmmn the Fire looked punch-drunk and aimless during his weeks as interim. I mean, if a long-time assistant doesn’t have the players geeked up to make him look good, then what does he offer that other candidates don’t? An intimate understanding of the players’ faults?

    I didn’t see anything from the interim Hamlett that showed he’s ready to assume tactical and motivational control of a professional team. I wish that weren’t the case.

  7. As a Revs supporter, I’m hoping that Mariner isn’t the choice. I realize that its only a matter of time for him, but I’d rather see him go out West.

  8. Color me underwhelmed. Hamlett? Mariner? I’d think if Hauptman was taking a more active role he’d realize the pile of **** that’s been interviewed and look to get someone who can energize the club.

    The Fire screwed up by a) not realizing the Osorio situation faster and starting to ‘prime the pump’ on potential replacements sooner b) getting piddly compensation for Osorio c) interviewing these candidates…surely there’s someone more qualified than these retreads and never-been’s?

  9. I wonder why Mariner has not received and/or accepted an offer to head coach an MLS team. I’ll be interested if Marsch and/or Armas will be Assistant Coach(es) for the Fire. I think Marsch could be a very good coach and you won’t meet a better person than Armas (100% class act).

  10. Definitely Mariner, it’s time for him to get a shot as a head coach plus I would much rather see the Fire try and go in a different direction with Mariner than go back to a candidate that was passed over for the job last time. Plus from what I understand, it’s Mariner who does most of the work for the MLS draft and looking at the players that NE has gotten in the past few drafts that bodes well for any team that has him as head coach.

  11. Jeffries would be an awful choice, IMO. When he left the Fire to take over the Burn, his record clearly shows that the job of head coach was too much for him to handle. It’s probably not a coincidence that he wasn’t hired for subsequent coaching vacancies in MLS.

    I am delighted to hear that Guppy’s bosses are taking a hands-on role in the hiring process. They obviously realize the importance of getting this decision right.

    Of the candidates listed, I like Mariner or Spencer more than Hamlett. But all of these candidates carry a lot of question marks.


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