The Houston Dynamo continue to add pieces in what has quickly become a radical shift from the Dominic Kinnear era. With the departures of goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley and assistant Steve Ralston, beat reporter Darrell Lovell has detailed new incoming personnel and another alteration to the Front Office structure.
Alexander "Sandy" Stewart will become a new assistant coach alongside Wade Barrett who looks to remain on the new-look staff. Stewart follows Owen Coyle to his fifth consecutive club after serving assistant coaching duties at Wigan, Bolton, Burnley, and St. Johnstone. The Scottish-born former defender registered over 400 appearances in the Scottish leagues before retiring to manage Airdrie United in 2002 and beginning a coaching partnership with Coyle in 2007.
According to Coyle, Stewart will be utilizing a "hands-on" approach with Barrett during training and will be working with the former Dynamo defender to understand MLS' more intricate nuances.
In addition to Stewart's hiring, Paul Caffrey, a former assistant coach with Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, and the U-17 USMNT, will be brought on as a Sports Performance Director and Fitness Coach. The Irish native has several years of experience in player preparation and fitness as well as being certified in strength and conditioning and functional movement specialties. Caffrey's appointment fulfills one of General Manager Matt Jordan's objectives in bringing fitness science and new training routines to the club.
One other move that has been reported is the promotion of nine-year Front Office veteran Nick Kowba to assistant General Manager. Over the years, Kowba has risen through the front office administration and, since 2011, has served as Director of Soccer Operations. In his new role, he will continue handling the day-to-day administrative duties but will now take a bigger part in player scouting. It seems Kowba has earned the position thanks in part to his most recent work in signing breakout midfielder Luis Garrido last summer.
Finally, there's little news to report on the replacement for Tim Hanley as goalkeeper coach with the Dynamo continuing their search to identify candidates with previous MLS experience. While they hope to secure a coach ahead of the start of training camp, the fresh Dynamo staff will begin preparations for January's busy month of player acquisitions beginning with the MLS Combine next week and the SuperDraft on January 15th. Visit Dynamo Theory next week for a look at the young prospects that will be on display at the Combine.