RFT’s Pick for the Dallas Coaching Vacancy

Usually, a coaching search should be deep and wide. For Dallas, it shouldn’t be.

We outlined some of the options Dallas have in their sudden coaching search yesterday. But the path forward for the Jackals couldn’t be more clear. Call Scott Lawrence now.

Lawrence took an expansion side to the Final in two years as both a coach and GM. His connections to the American rugby ecosystem couldn’t be deeper. In many ways, Lawrence’s hiring would almost make too much sense, if it weren’t for the timing of Michael Hodge’s separation from the team.

While visa issues beyond anyone’s control are certainly the reason behind Hodge’s separation, the timing is too convenient to be a coincidence. Dallas certainly knew there were issues. The fact he hadn’t already arrived should’ve had decision makers considering interim coaching options at a minimum. Elaine Vassie is too good of an executive to not have any sort of Plan B when an issue is clearly bubbling.

Then, Lawrence stepped down. Hours later, Hodge was out of a job.

A good team is always looking for an upgrade. Lawrence might not have been available, but after losing Allen Clarke last year, Dallas should have a long list of coaching targets in the Rolodex. When one of the best American coaches is free and you need a change, you need to pounce quickly.

In fact, Dallas moved with extreme urgency. The cynics among us might question which decision came first. Did Lawrence really prompt Dallas to move on? Or did Dallas already have Lawrence tied down before either announcement was made?

Be realistic. Dallas had a coach that can’t travel. This wasn’t a new situation. If the Dallas front office was doing its due diligence, they would’ve made a call to someone in Lawrence’s camp. They’d gone far enough with the strained Hodge situation to make any rational person believe they only moved on because they’d identified the franchise’s third head coach.

We outlined a few other options yesterday. Rob Hoadley and Nate Osborne would both be good coaches for a fresh team. Elaine Vassie would be an exciting coach, but with such a short coaching bench, she’d need to be on the touchline full time. This team needs someone that can step in immediately, command the locker room, and finally lead this team into a season. That’s Lawrence.

There is one potential situation in which Lawrence might become a bad choice. Be on the look out for a post on that topic later.


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