Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sports

Rowdies dismiss coach Ricky Hill, make Farrukh Quraishi team president, GM

Ricky Hill will not return as coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2015, the team said Tuesday.

Hill recently completed his fourth season with the club and won the 2012 North American Soccer League championship. In 2014, the Rowdies were 7-8-12.

"I don't really have a comment right now,'' Hill said. "I'm still working through things. I was only informed of the decision (Monday) night.''

The Rowdies held a news conference Tuesday to introduce Farrukh Quraishi as president and general manager.

Finding a coach will be at the top of the agenda for Quraishi. He also wants to improve the Rowdies' brand.

"This seems like a natural fit for me,'' said Quraishi, who was a member of the original Tampa Bay Rowdies from 1975-80. "We want to be a top club in the United States and have global recognition as well.''

Quraishi is no stranger to area soccer. Aside from playing for the Rowdies, he was also involved in the development of Major League Soccer's Tampa Bay Mutiny. He was president and general manager in the Mutiny's inaugural season in 1996.

He was also venue executive director for Orlando's World Cup matches in 1994, as well as executive vice president and chief operation officer of Massachusetts Professional Soccer.

Outside of soccer, Quraishi, 63, was director of public relations for Caspers Company, the largest McDonald's franchisee in the southeastern United States. Most recently he was director of the Hillsborough Community College Foundation.

"He was the candidate I wanted and fortunately I was able to get him,'' Rowdies owner Bill Edwards said. "We've had a lot of conversations about it and he's the right man for the job.''

For Quraishi and whoever the new coach is, the expectations will be high. While Edwards said he does not plan to move his team to a higher league, he does expect to win.

"I want to get the right players and coaches in here to win all the games,'' Edwards said. "I don't want to win a couple, I want to win them all.''

In other personnel moves, the Rowdies named Perry Van Der Beck assistant general manager/vice president of community relations. Van Der Beck was the team's general manager. Lee Cohen was promoted from vice president to chief operating officer.

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