After two years coaching the USL-1 RailHawks, Scott Schweitzer's contract, which was set to expire at the end of this month, was not renewed, the team announced today. Owner Brian Wellman praised the efforts of Schweitzer, who posted a record of 24 wins, 24 losses and 24 draws in league and Cup play and professional friendlies in his two seasons that also saw one playoff appearance and a drive to the semifinals of the 2007 U.S. Open Cup.
"Scotty Schweitzer will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play in the United Soccer Leagues," Wellman said. "His dedication and passion as a player was just as evident as a coach. We are grateful to Scotty for all he gave to the organization and wish him well in his future endeavors."
This was Schweitzer's first head coaching job after a stellar career in the USL and its predecessor, the A League. He will retain his job as the head of Next Level Academy, a Cary youth soccer training school.
Although this year's team finished strongly, with 16 points in its final eight games, the season was nonetheless a disappointing one. Despite the infusion of several talented midfielders and forwards—including Dan Antoniuk, Hamed Diallo, Matt Watson and Martin Nuñez—the team often struggled offensively and missed the playoffs with an eighth-place finish.
In the team's press release, Schweitzer doesn't disguise the existence of disagreements between him and the management:
"There was simply a difference of opinion between myself and the ownership group. I wish all of the players that gave everything to me and the organization all the best."
This is the second major change announced in the last few days. Over the weekend, the team announced the buyout and departure of Chris Economides, the team's founder, president and GM. Schweitzer and Economides have shared roots with the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the USL-1.
UPDATE 4:17 p.m.: In a phone interview, team publicist Marco Rosa stressed that the move was not a firing or a response to the team's showing last season. It was an option, Rosa said, for Schweitzer to return but the coach and management were unable to resolve their differences. "It was a mutual parting of the ways," Rosa said.
The team will conduct an international search for a new coach "starting today," Rosa said.