Are The Colorado Rapids Taking A Risk By Denying Interview Request With Oscar Pareja?

Doug Pensinger

Tim Hinchey wants Oscar Pareja to stay with the Colorado Rapids. That's good. He's helping keep the second-year coach in Commerce City by denying other teams the opportunity to talk to him. Is that bad?

It didn't take a National Security Agency codebreaker to connect Oscar Pareja to the F.C. Dallas managerial opening before the Colorado Rapids season had even ended.

It's easy to see why teams like Dallas, which suffered an ignominious slide from contention early on in the season to missing the playoff cut by its end, to covet Pareja. He did a better-than-expected job with Colorado in his second year by getting the young squad in the playoffs. Easier still was suspecting some Pareja affinity for Dallas, having played and coached there.

Rapids President Tim Hinchey was taking no chances with losing a promising coach, telling an eager suitor (almost certainly Dallas) to take a hike when the unnamed team approached him for an opportunity to talk to Pareja.

While Hinchey's strategy is probably good for Colorado in the short term, does it send a wrong message to future Rapids coaching prospects?

Hinchey told the Denver Post that "Our coach (Pareja) wants to stay here. He's told me so."

It would have been nice to hear Pareja say that himself, but he seemed to dance around the subject when asked about it.

Pareja said in a different Denver Post article when asked about the Dallas rumors: "It's a very hard question at the moment. We're professionals. And we're doing a job here. But my job is to be the head coach of Colorado. That's what I'm doing right now. And any other thing is beyond my control."

He went on: "As coaches, for good or bad, you always have your luggage at the front door, just in case you want to kick it in or kick it out."

None of those quotes provide much clarity to Pareja's thinking. Maybe he really wants to stay in Colorado. Maybe he's interested in returning to Dallas. In either case, Pareja should be free to do what's best for him.

Perhaps Pareja did tell Hinchey in no uncertain terms behind closed doors that he wanted to remain in Colorado, and just kind of winged it when asked by the press about it.

Whatever his intentions, Hinchey took an unusual step by slamming the door shut on other teams requesting an interview rather than letting his coach do that for himself, assuming he really wants to stay in Colorado.

If Pareja someday leaves, whether it's next year or five years from now, are future coaching prospects leery of taking a job with the Rapids with the thinking that the front office would limit their job opportunities?

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