Major League Ultimate announced today that Darryl Stanley will take over head coaching duties for the Philadelphia Spinners during the 2016 season.
The 2015 season marked the most successful campaign in Spinners history, but a string of late season losses led to a Eastern Conference Championship defeat in Boston. Following the season, Billy Maroon stepped down from his role as Head Coach to take on a position helping to develop MLU Play, the league’s charitable arm focusing on youth outreach.
After a months long search, the Spinners announced today that Darryl Stanley has been named Head Coach for 2016. Stanley brings an impressive ultimate resume as both a player and coach.
After playing at Cheltenham High School, in college and for local clubs, Stanley turned to coaching, with experience at the college, club and professional level.
“I stepped away from the game for a few years to work on my career, and was brought back into the fold via David Brandolph to become an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Phoenix in 2013.” said Stanley, “After working with them for two seasons I was fortunate to begin work as a head coach for the University of Pennsylvania men’s team, Void, and as the head coach of Citywide Ultimate, the developmental club team of Philadelphia Patrol.”
The 29-year old Stanley takes the reigns of a Spinners team that is full of veteran players with years of playing together. While some coaches may see this situation as daunting, Stanley is excited to inherit such a talented group.
“I am working with a team that has such a strong base of talent and chemistry,” noted Stanley, “and I am seeking to lean on that while adding some different offensive and defensive flows.”
“The Spinners roster is full of highly dedicated, experienced and versatile players. It is blessed with some great leaders in captains Nick Hirannet, Trey Katzenbach, Jake Rainwater and Patrick Lindsey. We also have back-to-back MLU rookies of the year in Matt Esser and Billy Sickles.”
When searching for a new coach, input from the players was key, with Stanley getting a strong vote of confidence from the team’s veteran leadership.
“I’ve seen the success Darryl has had in coaching other teams in the past and I’m excited to see what he can do with the Spinners.” said Hirannet, “He has exceptional organizational skills, is a great communicator, and I know he will give 100% commitment and focus to this team. I’m excited to implement some of his new ideas and strategies out on the field. ”
Stanley has also received endorsements from players he coached at developmental points in their careers, citing his communication and concern for player welfare and team cohesion.
“I played for Darryl on the Philadelphia Phoenix three years ago, he’s a great coach,” said Esser, the 2014 MLU Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year, “he is always willing to listen to his players, acting on what is best for them and the team. I’m really excited to play for Darryl again and see what he can bring to the Spinners. He’s a great defensive mind and understands his players, their strengths and weaknesses and what they need to succeed.”
Stanley recognizes the challenge of leading a roster of veterans, but is confident in his strategy.
“My style as a coach is to always start from the bottom up, ensuring the team agrees on a foundational set of skills, patterns and language.” explained Stanley, “We then work towards combining those foundational skills into team-wide tactics. I try to have my players understand the game as much as possible, and to be as prepared for as many different playing styles as possible and to be tactically aware enough to shift between those styles when the situation demands.”
Stanley’s goal for 2016 is simple, and will resonate with Spinners fans and Philadelphia sports fans in general:
“This is the highest level of the sport with the best players in Philadelphia. This is for a championship.”