FC Dallas' coaching search still wide open, includes candidates currently in MLS Cup Playoffs

Fernando Clavijo

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Six down, four or five to go.

That’s where FC Dallas stand in the process of interviewing candidates for their vacant head coaching position. The club expects to complete the first round of the interview process within the next 10 days, then pare the list down to two or three candidates who will be brought back for a second round of discussions before they make the final decision.

“We would like to have somebody before Dec. 1 in an ideal world," Hunt Sports Group vice president Dan Hunt said in a wide-ranging conference call with reporters on Thursday. "Understand we may have interest in coaches who have commitments after that."

Hunt declined to discuss specific candidates so as not to “spoil the surprise,” but he did confirm that they are considering coaches on teams still active in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

“Because of league rules that affect coaches that are still in the playoffs, we have to be careful,” said Hunt. “Yes, there is some interest in a couple of people involved in the different organizations [still in the playoffs] – we will be reaching out to those clubs.”

One coach who many believed would be targeted by the club, former Dallas player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja, won’t be on the list for an interview after his the Colorado Rapids spurned requests by an unnamed team. Also, former Rapids head coach Gary Smith said in a Q&A with The Dallas Morning News that he has been contacted by FCD.

“Bringing a former player back here that understands what this organization wants to accomplish could be one of the best things for this organization, but it has to be at the right time," Hunt said. "... We want to bring a coach in who is going to make an impact immediately on this franchise.”

Hunt went on to say that in addition to himself, the search committee consists of his brother, HSG president Clark Hunt, and FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo (above) and that they alone would make the final selection. Consultant and former head coach Schellas Hyndman will not be giving input into the selection of his successor.

MLS experience is clearly important to the club, but neither head coaching experience in the league nor a prior connection to FC Dallas are on their list of requirements.

“We’re looking at a little bit of everything,” Clavijo said in the same conference call. “We’re trying to be creative and look where people have success in the league and how we can implement it to our plans. … It is a very unique situation here in the United States. They have to have an inside knowledge of rosters, not only FC Dallas, but everybody else around the league, the different salaries, budget.”