Deep down, I'm sure that the Rapids knew all along that Oscar Pareja returning to Dallas was always going to be a possibility. With that in mind, it seems that the Rapids might be keeping an eye on their past now as they look for a new head coach. Similar to what the Avalanche have done by bringing in Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Adam Foote as coaches and technical staff, the Rapids brought in Jamie Smith and Pablo Mastroeni. The head coaching spot is still vacant, but it looks like a former Rapid might be getting that job as well. Chris Bianchi tweeted as much yesterday.
Team feels that an ex-player has best chance at sticking around long term - perhaps feeling a bit burned by Pareja’s surprise departure.— Chris Bianchi (@Rapids_News) January 13, 2014
So, we're looking at former Rapids players. That knocks out a chunk of the guys I looked at a couple of weeks ago as potential head coaching replacements for Pareja, and Wilmer Cabrera has (obviously) already been taken off the list as well. Dave Dir is probably out of the running too, though his inclusion on that list was going to be a longshot right from the start.
(Unfortunately, it also means that Humberto Suazo is out of the running, but it's not to late to bring him in as a player so he can be a FUTURE head coach! I know you're reading this, Kroenke!)
Uh, anyway, let's take a look at a few names we might have in the running now:
Robin Fraser: The man we've covered the most extensively since it started to look like Pareja was out, and still the guy I think is the favorite for the job. He'll be coming into Colorado in a similar situation that Pareja is in going into Dallas -- a young head coach with two years of experience under his belt (at least one of them hideously awful) and some kinks in his coaching that still need to be worked out. You've already seen just about all we know about Fraser over here.
John Spencer: Now that the shift has been focused to former players, Spencer's name isn't likely to go away from the discussion any time soon. That's unfortunate, because I still think he's not the man for the job for several reasons. His Portland Timbers teams were known for discombobulation, misfiring offenses and giving up very late goals, and a coach that had some mentally shaky teams is not what the Rapids need with nearly their entire core being made up of youth players. There were also reports that he tended to clash with the Timbers front office while he was with Portland and wasn't a 'coachable coach'. I won't say we need a 'yes man' bowing down to the FO's will, but someone generally agreeable with the philosophy of the team, like Pareja was, would be preferable. Spencer would be a fun choice for head coach, but perhaps not what this team needs going into a key year in half of the team's young careers.
Oh yeah, and from that same article:
Another insisted Spencer was reluctant to add Spanish-speaking players to the team.
Yeah, no full rebuild again, please.
Pablo Mastroeni: Yes, Pablo did just get signed to a completely different front office position, but let's be honest here. The Rapids didn't need a "Special Assistant to the Technical Director" last year, and it's not even clear what that position entails. There's plenty of chance that Pablo could be immediately removed from that position and made the head coach of this team. Pablo was, for all intents and purposes, a coach during his injured 2012, and spent what time he did spend with the 2013 Rapids on the sideline as well. A lack of experience could be nullified by the fact that he clearly already knows this team inside and out, and we know all the players on the team trust and respect him. An intriguing choice, though it probably won't be one of the highest on the FO's Wish List, and there's nothing indicating that Pablo wants to jump into coaching quite yet.
It's worth pointing out that Alexi Lalas is putting out some chatter about this possibility. (Not that we should be taking the ginger king of lulz's twitter account as gospel, of course.)
Marcelo Balboa: OK, probably not. But can you imagine?
Chris Henderson: This would be a wild card. Henderson had one year of assistant coaching experience with the Wizards after retiring as a player, but nothing else -- he's spent every year since as a technical director for the Sounders. If the Rapids could lure him back to Colorado, it would be interesting, but it's hard to know if he has what it takes to coach an MLS team considering his lack of experience in that regard.
Jorge Dely Valdes: And his brother by proxy, of course. I'm not dropping this!
What do you say, guys? Am I forgetting any prominent Rapids in this equation? Which of these guys would you like to see take the helm of the team?