Soccer Team Fails in Coup Against Occidental Coach

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

If Brian Williams returns next season as the Occidental College soccer coach, he will have to win more than games. He will have to win his players’ respect.

Williams, 24, has coached the Tigers the past two years and is under fire because of his inexperience and on-field behavior. Last week, disgruntled players met with Athletic Director Lynn Pacala to discuss the possibility of replacing Williams.

Pacala would not elaborate on the meeting but said that Williams will return as head coach next season and that the players will help in the selection of an assistant.


Williams acknowledges that the bad feelings will make it difficult for him to come back, but he is determined to quell the dissension. He said he hopes to meet with the team before summer camp to discuss the situation.

“I’m not going to run from it,” he said.

With only two starters gone from the team that finished second in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1986, Occidental appeared to be heading for a successful season. But the Tigers (7-11-1 overall, 5-6-1 in conference play) finished a disappointing fourth in the SCIAC this year.

“We don’t want to put all of the blame on Brian because we’re the ones out there on the field screwing up. But there are a lot of things he contributed to,” said Chris Owen, a junior co-captain. “If we had a better coach things would be different.”

Some players were upset about Williams’ demeanor on the field and questioned his maturity, especially after a match that Occidental lost to last-place Redlands.

“He was childish. He yelled, screamed, threw things and kicked things,” sophomore midfielder Rusty Field said. “We lost, 3-2, to a team we should never lose to and Brian freaked out. The horn went off and he threw it at the referee and started screaming he was going to appeal the game.”

Williams said that the players are too critical and that their expectations for finding a Division III coach with a wealth of experience are unrealistic.

He said he was frustrated by apathy and a lack of team commitment last season.

In Williams’ defense, junior Paul Blechner said finding a coach who could handle the job’s administrative duties as well as Williams would be difficult.

Blechner added that Williams is also sensitive to the academic responsibilities of his players.