Former Blast forward Dave MacWilliams will be introduced today as the Spirit's new coach, sources said.
Spirit vice president Drew Forrester declined to confirm or deny the hiring yesterday, saying only, "We'll have a significant announcement at the Arena."
MacWilliams, 37, will be the second coach in the 14-year history of indoor soccer in Baltimore, succeeding Kenny Cooper, who resigned April 9. MacWilliams, who will have a two-year contract, and Dallas Sidekicks assistant Billy Phillips were the remaining finalists for the job once Pete Caringi withdrew from consideration when UMBC gave him a five-year contract.
Phillips was reluctant to pull up his family's roots in Dallas and wanted to finish the Sidekicks' summer Continental Indoor Soccer League season, which would have meant he wouldn't have started with the Spirit until mid-September.
MacWilliams, a Philadelphia native, met owner Bill Stealey's criteria, one of which is that he wanted a full-time coach. He will start Aug. 22 and conduct a minicamp in early September. He will commit to the Spirit year-round to oversee summer youth camps, an outdoor team that will play as many as 12 games next summer and a reserve (farm) team this indoor season.
MacWilliams spent nine seasons in the now-defunct Major Soccer League. Playing first with the Philadelphia Fever, then with the Blast from 1982 to 1987 and with the Chicago Sting in 1987-88, he amassed 225 goals and 182 assists.