MISL Review : Former Socker Geyer Considers Future After Losing Sting Coaching Job

Times Staff Writer

Player . . . referee . . . coach . . .

What's next for former Socker defender Erich Geyer?

"I'm thinking of becoming a player agent," said Geyer, who was fired as coach of the Chicago Sting Monday. "I've had to negotiate between players and the general manager. For sure, there are three or four players on the Sting who would take me as their agent."

Geyer said he plans to return to San Diego, which he considers his home, and decide what he wants to do with his future. He might return to being a referee, try to get back into coaching or take up as an agent.

Right now, he'll collect the remainder of his guaranteed contract for this season and reflect on being let go by the Sting.

"I had no idea what they were up to," Geyer said. "I swear to God. I never got a sign of anything around me. I don't think that was fair . . . I thought I could finish the season and see if after that I was the right man for that. I didn't see it coming."

Geyer was promoted from assistant coach to coach when the Sting was 1-7 last season and directed them to a 22-22 mark. This season, the Sting was 16-17, with seven of those losses coming during a stretch when Chicago had nine players out with injuries. Chicago was 5-1 in February before blowing two-goal leads in a 5-4 loss in Tacoma last Friday and a 6-5 overtime loss in Minnesota Sunday. On Monday, Geyer was out and assistant coach Gary Hindley was in.

Geyer said Kenny Stern, Sting vice president and general manager, told him the club lost too many games in the fourth quarter and just lost too many games period. The Sting lost eight games in which they had a two-goal lead.

"This was my decision," Stern said. "I won't say people didn't have input. Erich did a lot of positive things, but I look at the things that didn't go well."

Despite being fired, Geyer remains positive.

"You learn your lessons," he said. "I got fired (released) by the Sockers and booed by the fans when I was a referee. You learn to be strong enough to overcome these problems."

Once he's back in San Diego, would Geyer like to reunited with the Sockers?

"Even to bring it up wouldn't be fair to (coaches) Ron Newman, Johan (Aarnio) and Guy Newman," Geyer said. "As for another job, outside of the coaching staff, I don't know. Is it being GM or some sort of public relations?"

Disharmony Among the Stars: The Tacoma Stars Board of Directors voted 14-0 to replace Star Coach Alan Hinton because of divisiveness within the club.

According to Hinton, who was fired Monday, "the only disharmony was with one man."

That was Star forward Steve Zungul--the MISL player of the decade.

"Steve Zungul has kicked me up and down," Hinton said. "In the head, the back, the stomach, the shins. I've tried to resolve it with him. I fined him. But I had no support (from management)."

When Hinton was fired, the Stars were 17-18 and tied with Kansas City for third place, 8 1/2 games back of the Sockers. Their big problem came on the road, where they were 3-14 after leading the league with a 18-8 mark last season.

"What we could not do was win on the road," Hinton said. "We couldn't win on the road because Steve Zungul did not produce on the road. You cannot win when your superstar doesn't produce on the road."

Zungul averages 2.2 points at home and 1.1 on the road, but most players are more productive and get more favorable rulings on assists at home. Star forward Preki, the league's leading scorer, averages 2.8 points at home and 1.5 points on the road.

Zungul has opted not to comment.

Star president John Best said it wasn't a matter of either Zungul or Hinton going.

"There was so much divisiveness within the club we honestly believed we had to make a change," Best said. "It was with the whole club, it wasn't just Zungul."

After Hinton was fired, there were rumors that Zungul would be named player-coach, but Best said Zungul was "not a candidate at all."

The Stars named Jimmy McAlister to his first professional coaching position. McAlister spent three years as a player and two as special-events director for the Stars.

"We considered a lot of candidates," Best said. "When you really look at it, you need to address these problems of divisiveness internally. Jimmy has good people relations. He knows the players well. He was the ideal candidate to deal with the problem."

Off The Wall Poll: (Conducted among league writers by the Morning News Tribune in Tacoma):

- Martha Raye Award for the Biggest Mouth: Tacoma Star forward Steve Zungul.

- Pablum Award for the Best Whiner also goes to Zungul.

- Greg Louganis Award for Best Diver: Dallas forward Tatu (injured this season).

- Liberace Award for the Most Flamboyant Player: Minnesota goalkeeper Tino Lettieri.

- Horatio Hornblower Award for The Coach Who Toots His Own Horn Best: Kenny Cooper of the Baltimore Blast.

There were also three serious awards:

- Manuel Lopez Award for Most Underrated Player: Kansas City forward Dale Mitchell. (If you wonder who Manuel Lopez is, you'll get the idea).

- Gipper Award for Best Coach: Ron Newman of the Sockers.

- Impossible Dream Award for Best Referee: Marty Templin.

Quotebook: When 5-foot 2-inch Socker midfielder Paul Dougherty was asked what he was going to do with the $2,500 he earned for winning the Starshot competition with Waad Hirmez, he said: "I'm going to Disneyland--as one of the seven dwarfs."

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