Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Five Burning Questions about new DC Breeze Head Coach

"Not certain" is how Evan Leper described the coaching situation for the D.C. Breeze in January 2017. Yesterday, the Breeze announced Darryl Stanley would be DC's new head coach for the 2017 American Ultimate Disc League season.  Stanley last coached the Philadelphia Spinners (MLU) to the 2016 Major League Ultimate Championship.

Stanley will be tasked with taking over a team from Alex Ghesquiere who is coaching the USA team at 2017 The World Games this summer. The new Breeze coach will be leading a team that is coming off its best performance last season -- (10-4) regular season record, beat Toronto, posting the franchise's first postseason win, and advancing to the division championship game.

Here are five burning questions about the D.C. Breeze's next head coach:

1. Can a coach from Philadelphia be trusted?
Washington, DC sports fans don't exactly like Philadelphia....sports teams.

The coaching strategy of the MLU Coach of the Year (2016) seems sound, though. From a November 2015 MLU article, Stanley said: "My style as a coach is to always start from the bottom up, ensuring the team agrees on a foundational set of skills, patterns and language. We then work towards combining those foundational skills into team-wide tactics. I try to have my players understand the game as much as possible, and to be as prepared for as many different playing styles as possible and to be tactically aware enough to shift between those styles when the situation demands."

2. Will this hiring sway any Philadelphia Spinner to tryout for the Breeze ?
Darryl Stanley was extremely successful in 2016 with the Spinners; hitting the trifecta by winning the Eastern Conference regular season crown, the Eastern Conference Championship and the 2016 MLU Championship.

For those former MLU players from Philly not seeking to play for the Phoenix consider rejoining their former coach?...in the AUDL??...in DC???

The Breeze tryout is March 5th, so Philadelphia/Spinners players have less than a month to make that decision.

3. Will this turnoff any players who were wishing to play for Ghesquiere?
Alex Ghesquiere is a coaching legend with club and WDF championships. Last year, a few out of towners who participated in the Breeze tryouts made the team in 2016 (a WUGC year).

The Breeze look to be targeting only DC-area playersfor the 2017 season.

4. Can Darryl Stanley beat Toronto Rush?
In their 11th meeting, the Breeze finally won a game against Toronto Rush. Since that historic win, the Breeze are (0-1) versus the Rush - a postseason loss in the AUDL 2016 East Division Championship.

5. Will Darryl Stanley continue to coach Philadelphia Citywide Special , the developmental club team of Philadelphia Patrol (2 Philly teams in the same region as D.C. Truck Stop)?
The AUDL season starts April 1 and ends in late August. The USA Ultimate club ultimate season starts in early June. Pro and club season will have some crossover.

Mike LoPresti was the Truck Stop Coach and DC Breeze Assistant Coach in 2016. His return in 2017 has not been announced. DC Truck Stop beat Citywide in their only meeting in 2016 by the score of 13-3 at Mid-Atlantic Men's Regionals.  If LoPresti returns, will this be awkward?

[UPDATE: Stanley will also coach Truck Stop in 2017.]

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