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With the announcement Sunday of Chris Brown as the new USA 7s assistant coach, it seems former England and Kenya coach Mike Friday is indeed going to be named the program’s head coach very soon. Friday was hired last week as the new director of rugby for the London Scottish, leading us to believe that eliminated him from contention for the Eagles job.
However, the formalization of Brown's hiring – Brown was Friday’s assistant coach with Kenya during the 2012/2013 season – and some more background obtained by Rugby Today indicates Friday is likely still the man, as predicted.
Friday won’t likely be expected to reside year-round in San Diego, like Al Caravelli, Alex Magleby and Matt Hawkins essentially did before him. He’ll have more freedom to split time between the Olympic Training Center and his duties with the Scottish back in London. Caravelli, Magleby and Hawkins all held jobs outside of the 7s head coaching position during their tenures. Caravelli worked in technology, Hawkins for Serevi Rugby, and Magleby maintained a working relationship with Dartmouth.
While the head 7s coach has traditionally been tasked with everything from creating pathways to the national team, talent identification, player development, pandering for funding, and coaching the current team to wins, among other duties, the likely new setup will delegate some of those many charges. Magleby’s increased role as the national development director and the presence of Friday’s trusted assistant in Brown will help fill any potential gap left by the new coach as he juggles two jobs.
This is just speculation, of course, as it’s unconfirmed Friday will take the job. But, if he does, don’t be surprised to see a setup where Brown is trusted as the on-the-ground, day-to-day guy at the OTC, with Friday coming in for pre-tour camps and as needed throughout the year.
Magleby will be largely responsible for the player pathway and talent identification portion of the operation, a la an NFL, NBA or MLB general manager. USA Rugby’s press release indicates Magleby will breathe life back into the academy system he helped set up when he was the head coach.