Dell Loy Hansen will be taking an interim president role as he restructures the organization, and that means some big changes are coming down the pipeline.
In an interview he gave on ESPN 700 on the Bill and OC show, he discussed his plans for Real Salt Lake, and what some of the challenges the organization has faced.
Listen to the interview for the full bag, but we have some excerpts below.
On how Bill Manning's original contract shaped the organization
When Bill's contract was originally put together, Real was a much smaller organization, and it was a very hierarchical contract that basically had Bill running all divisions of the team. Team, business, tickets, operations, -- he had more than 14 to 15 reports, and it was designed for a smaller organization.
Through the years that I've been here, I've talked to Bill while Garth was were, Jason was here, different players, and Bill believed that the contract was the one that he wanted, and it really kept the organization in a very tight pyramid that made it difficult to grow the organization to a broader sports organization.
On how that structure stifled the organization
The organization structure was stifled. Bill and I had a great talk, he's a great friend, he's been here the whole time I've been here, and I've worked closely with him on each decision. We both came to the conclusion, that as the organization needed to become more horizontal, with more authority diffused through the organization, that may not be the organization he would want to lead. I said, 'I understand that,' and we both have come to an understanding that may be the best way for Real to progress into what I call the third phase of MLS Soccer.
On changes to the soccer side of the organization
The key five lieutenants across the divisions, I've been meeting with throughout the day, everyone's on board. The organization remains intact, we had a meeting for an hour, hour-and-a-half with the coaching staff and Craig Waibel. The biggest single step would be Craig Waibel would move from technical director to general manager over the sporting side of the business and expand his staff. We're looking at a two-to-three expansion of staff, from both scouts to technical statistical analysts. Part of the change is we can get more professional in our analytical and scouting skills than we were in the past, and Craig has accepted the challenge to build that.
That's probably the first change is promoting him from reporting to Bill (Manning) as the head of the team to where he now heads the team operations, the Monarchs operations, and the academy in Arizona.
On Garth Lagerwey's dilemma at RSL
I think one of the dilemmas with Garth (Lagerwey) was that we had an organization that had him kind of sandwiched between a coach and a president, and the organizational structure was somewhat demotivational to his position.
On taking an 'interim president' role
As we now look, we have a very empowered position as a general manager to run the broader organization, and then report to the president. In the interim, I'll hold that position for ten weeks, and then we said we'd get back around December 15 and review. I'd be what's known as an "integrator" that takes the various departments and integrates those.
Really, the 95 to 98 percent of the work that's happening here is already happening in those departments. We felt very good after a two-hour meeting this morning that we're in great shape to move forward, to play the year out and launch our new budget initiatives that it takes to operate the team and the sponsorships.
On the look of the team moving forward
We're where we are today under Bill's leadership. We've got nine games left in MLS, we'll welcome probably one of the most talented players Real's ever attracted, Juan Manuel Martinez (ed. note: Hansen initially said 'Jaime Martinez'), who will be with us Thursday, and he'll enter the team on Friday. We're not really hitting the reset button, we're really taking a team that has probably too many young players and needs more middle players, and we're looking at methodologies to develop that in the future. But as our players heal, and we could put a really talented forward at the top, we feel very good about the remaining nine games of the season, and we're playing for broke. Everyone is still committed to make the playoffs and move on in CONCACAF.
Nothing to hang our heads about, we just know there are areas to improve. It really isn't a reset button at all, it's looking at a great team and finding ways that we can improve that team with more resources and filling in some of the holes that are rather obvious.
Ed. note: An earlier version of this article had a pretty miserable typo I introduced, where it sounded both like we were hitting the reset button and that we weren't. Hansen said we aren't. My apologies.
On the new GM department
Let's say, eight years ago, Garth could have run that whole department by himself, which he pretty much did. Today, that will probably be a six-man department by next year -- at a minimum. The evolution of the sport has become far more professional, far more detailed in player acquisition training, and we're really building for a long-term RSL future, making the decision today to step into that future.