FRISCO, Texas – When Schellas Hyndman officially leaves FC Dallas at the end of the season, he will leave a legacy that includes a long list of accomplishments.
Just scratching the surface is his title as the club’s all-time winningest coach with 62 victories to date, the leader of the team’s most successful season with a 2010 run to the MLS Cup final and an academy system that has grown to include more than 5,000 players.
And while he may not be stepping down in the manner he had envisioned, Hyndman is glad to be doing it on his terms.
“I felt it was the best thing for the club, which is very important to me, that they go in a different direction,” Hyndman told reporters Friday. “It is very difficult for me because I’ve coached for so many years. I love the competitive side, I love the teamwork, I love the training. It’s come to a point in time [where] I think the team needs a different voice. I’ve not been able to bring the best out of them.”
The announcement was especially difficult for FC Dallas chairman Clark Hunt, given his unique relationship with Hyndman. Hunt played for Hyndman when he was the head coach at nearby Southern Methodist University.
“Today is a very sad day for our family,” Hunt said. “I’ve known [Schellas] for 30 years, and he is somebody I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for and I am so thankful for his time at FC Dallas. When I hired him five-and-a-half years ago, I knew what a talent he was and it’s been so fulfilling for me to have a chance to work with him personally and see him have the level of achievement that he did he with FC Dallas."
Hyndman went on to clarify that while he’s leaving FC Dallas it is not the end of his coaching career.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever retire,” he said. “If I’m not coaching in MLS, if I’m not coaching college, then I’m going to be coaching a youth team. I’ve been so privileged … to coach the sport for 36 years, to coach a sport and work in something that I love. It has been a privilege for me. I don’t know if ‘retirement’ is a word that I’m ready to use today.”
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This season has been particularly disappointing for Hyndman given that Dallas’ league-leading status in June ultimately did not turn into a playoff spot in October. Hyndman also said he still has bad dreams about the 2010 MLS Cup loss to the Colorado Rapids. He said he will always remember those disappointments, but pointed to successes that he will cherish as well.
He said clinching the Western Conference championship at the LA Galaxy in 2010 was one of his most rewarding moments.
“It was a big game, coaching against a very good team with the likes of [Landon] Donovan and [David] Beckham and winning that game handily,” he said.
He also recalled becoming the first MLS team to win on Mexican soil in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“I thought that was pretty cool,” he said. “Those are probably the key moments, but I think it’s always about the people, and I’ve had some great people to work with here. … Those memories will last forever.”
Ultimately, Hyndman said he’s glad he left the relative comfort of his long-tenured position as the head coach at SMU to come to FC Dallas five years ago.
“I think I became a better coach, I think I became a better person and I would hate to be on my deathbed wishing I had had the courage to do it,” he said. “It’s not ending the way that I had pictured it, but it’s been a great journey.”