June 13, 2012
Nowak out, Hackworth in for Philadelphia
CHESTER, Pa---The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that it has fired team manager Peter Nowak. Nowak’s first lieutenant, John Hackworth, takes over the club on an interim basis.
After a successful two-year run that saw the team advance to their first-ever postseason and him become a popular figure in Philadelphia sports, the Union and Nowak made some very unpopular player decisions that left many of the team’s fans angry and bewildered, effectively ending the honeymoon.
"In a period of time, we decided we were no longer on the same page between ownership and Peter’s philosophy of managing the team," said Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz in announcing the change.
Nowak was named the Union’s manager on May 29, 2009, nearly a year before the club took the field In 75 MLS games, Nowak posted a 21-30-24 record and led the team to its first ever playoff appearance in 2011. But the team has struggled this season, posting a 2-7-2 record. Last year, he was given a new long term contract, believed to be five years, as well as a vice president’s title.
Among the unpopular moves Nowak has been criticized for is the trading of leading scorer Sebastien LeToux to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for allocation money, the trade that sent team captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA, and last week’s move that sent the Union’s first ever draft pick, Danny Mwanga, to the Portland Timbers.
Hackworth has been Nowak’s assistant with the Union all three seasons, taking over on the bench on numerous occasions. The two also worked together previously in the U.S. National Team program. Hackworth served as head coach of the 2005 and 2007 World Cup teams, leading the squad to a fifth place finish in the 2005 U-17 World Cup and winning CONCACAF qualifying in both ‘05 and ‘07.
Hackworth’s first game in command will be Saturday against DC United at PPL Park.