November 9, 2012
NO LONGER A HANS ON COACH
Red Bulls will not extend Backe's contract
By Michael Lewis
|Hans Backe is the only coach in Red Bulls history who has directed the team into the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In what was not a surprise, the Red Bulls announced on Friday that the contract of coach Hans Backe will be not be extended after this season.
The Red Bulls were eliminated from the MLS playoffs in the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Thursday night, losing to D.C. United, 1-0, at Red Bull Arena. New York lost the aggregate goals series, 2-1.
“We want to thank Hans for his work over the past three years and wish him the best of luck in the future,” Global Sporting Director of Red Bull Soccer Gerard Houllier said in a statement.
Assistant coach Mike Petke will coach the club on an interim basis, the Red Bulls said.
The contract of assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen, Backe's first lieutenant, also was not extended.
After the Red Bulls were eliminated on Thursday, Backe was asked whether the game at Red Bull Arena was his swan song.
"We have to wait and see with that," he said.
While directing the Red Bulls to the playoffs in all three of his seasons, the team failed miserably in the post-season, losing in the conference semifinals all three times.
In fact, the Red Bulls, who have the highest payroll among the 19 Major League Soccer teams, have won only two playoff matches under Backe while posting a 2-4-1 record.
Backe is the only coach in Red Bulls history to direct the team to three consecutive playoff appearances.
Backe was not available for comment.