Shawn Pittman Sacked By Utah

Whoever wins the 2022 Coach of the Year award should immediately get their resume reviewed.

2021 MLR Coach of the Year Award winner has been relieved of his duties with the Utah Warriors. This follows 2020 winner Rob Hoadley being fired by San Diego during rugby’s longest off season.

After taking over just prior to the 2021 season, Pittman took the talented but often inconsistent Warriors to the playoffs. They were beaten in the Western Conference Championship by an LA team that could not be denied. The 2022 season looked like a return to prior form for the franchise. The team was 2-6, though they remain only 9 points out of layoff position.

The move comes as a massive surprise. General Manager Brandon Sparks will oversee the coaching staff for the remainder of the season while leading the search for their next coach. Assistants Shaun Davies and Robbie Abel will remain in their current roles.

Warriors Fans Should Feel Nervous

The San Diego firing of Rob Hoadley after their abbreviated 5-0 2020 season feels prophetic. After the move, the Legion had no clear plan and promoted a pair of assistants to co-head coaching roles. While the team also dealt with pandemic, injury, and stadium issues, no one sees the 2020 Legion season as a model for success.

Utah has not officially elevated Pittman’s assistants, but they’ll essentially see out the season under the same structure unless Sparks, who lacks high level coaching experience, inserts himself into the equation.

All of this makes the move questionable at best and moronic at worst.

Utah’s season was certainly rocky, but a rough half season shouldn’t negate the massive progress the year before. Last year’s success was followed by talent leaving the club, including 10 Hagen Schulte’s retirement and Eagle’s scrumhalf Michael Baska moving to the French ProD2. The team has not immediately replaced the fluid play those two brought to the back line. However, they remain within range of a realistic playoff push.

Unlike Old Glory’s coaching change, there’s no other experienced head coach on the market. Nate Osborn is now committed to DC for the duration of the campaign. Rob Hoadley and Scott Lawrence appear committed to the Eagle’s set up. Andrew Douglas is available, but bringing in a coach a week removed from being sacked for an 0-8 start seems unrealistic. Utah will almost certainly have to see out the year with their current staff, unless another team opts for a shake up.

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