Real Salt Lake will be announcing its new coaching hire today, and the rumor — which seems pretty locked-on at this point — is that Mike Petke’s the man to be named.
Petke, if you haven’t been paying attention or you’re new around here, was the New York Red Bulls coach during a particularly successful period for the club. In 2013, his first year after being promoted from his assistant coach role, he led the team to a Supporters Shield. In 2014, New York made the Eastern Conference finals. In January 2015, Petke was fired.
Fast forward to December 2016: Mike Petke was named Real Monarchs coach, occupying a vacancy left by Freddy Juarez, who was promoted to a first-team assistant position from that role.
In his first — and it appears perhaps his only — appearance on the sidelines in a competitive match for Real Monarchs, Petke’s side ran out as 2-1 winners over a good Timbers 2 side.
If Petke is the new coach, that does have a few repercussions, both potential and actual.
What happens to Real Monarchs?
Obviously enough, the first team is the priority in all instances, but this does create an opening at Real Monarchs. Given they hired a completely new staff this offseason, there’s a very reasonable chance that they’ll be kept in place. That does seem to be the way of the club at this point in their development, which is great.
Who might step in, then? Mark Briggs, assistant coach, seems a pretty reasonable bet. Importantly, he already holds a head coach pedigree, having been over Wilmington Hammerheads.
Any changes on the coaching staff?
It’s going to be hard to predict, but Petke is well-acquainted with the club, having worked here for several months. He’ll know the coaching staff. But by the same token, the coaching staff has in the past been run positionally, and Petke would, in that structure, serve as a defense-focused coach. Now, RSL does still have Tyrone Marshall on the staff, so there is a question to be answered about his status.
Of course, there may be no change at all. Jeff Cassar, a goalkeeper by trade, kept Daryl Shore as his top assistant, and he was focused on goalkeepers. Petke had Jamison Olave on his staff, and we all know where Olave played.
Didn’t we all expect this?
There were plenty of rumors about Petke being the man for the job when he was hired as the Real Monarchs coach — an escape hatch, if you will. And certainly, that was a possibility, but that’s also not something that we ever had confirmed.
Petke said all the right things about being the Real Monarchs coach, and he did everything professionally. Whether he was or wasn’t the heir apparent is sort of a moot point, I suppose.
Is Petke the right choice?
That’s a tough question to answer, certainly. Why don’t you tell us?