WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two days after leading D.C. United to their fifth MLS Cup berth in nine years, first-year head coach Peter Nowak was named today as a finalist for MLS Coach of the Year. Nowak led the Black-and-Red back to the playoffs for the second consecutive year while contending with several injuries and national team call-ups throughout the season and looks to become the first person to lift an MLS Cup as both a player and a coach.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named as finalist for MLS Coach of the Year alongside Greg Andrulis and Bob Gansler," said Nowak. "That said, all credit for United's success this season goes to the team. They are a special group of players that believe they can achieve great things."
The 2004 MLS Honda Most Valuable Player will be announced live on ESPNews from the ESPNZone in Anaheim, California on Thursday, November 11 at 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET. The winners of every other year-end honor will be unveiled at the MLS Cup Media Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 12, while the 2004 MLS Best XI will be announced at the MLS Awards Gala on Saturday, Nov. 13. Online voting for the Sierra Mist Goal of the Year has ended and the winner will be announced with all others on Friday, Nov. 12.
Nowak joined United as the team's fourth head coach on January 7, 2004, following a playing career that spanned more than two decades including success not only at the club level throughout Europe but also for his native Poland. Nowak scored 17 goals over a five-year career in the German Bundesliga, playing for clubs such as 1860 Munich, Kaiserslautern and Dynamo Dresden. He also captained the Polish National Team for three years, being named the Polish Player of the Year in 1996.
In 1998, he captained the expansion Chicago Fire to two Cup wins - MLS Cup 1998 and the U.S. Open Cup - and also earned recognition as the MVP of MLS Cup 1998. He earned three nods to the MLS All-Star team (1998, 1999, 2000) to accompany his honors as a member of the MLS Best XI (1998, 2000, 2001) and Fire MVP.
With the Black-and-Red leading at the midpoint of the 2005 season, Nowak was selected to coach the Eastern Conference side in the 2004 Sierra Mist All-Star game, leading them to a 3-2 win after also playing in the Celebration Game recognizing stars from the 1994 World Cup who also enjoyed success in MLS.