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01-12-2018 08:43 AM
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Spain has made a coaching change just two days before the start of the World Cup in a move that will be heavily scrutinized over the coming weeks.

Was it a surprise move? Absolutely.

But the history of coaching dismissals in soccer and every other sport is littered with strange timing Adidas Mika Zibanejad Jersey , strange decisions and strange circumstances. Now Julen Lopetegui’s case joins them.

Lopetegui was fired as Spain’s national team coach on Wednesday after accepting a job to lead Real Madrid next season . He will be replaced by Fernando Hierro for the country’s match against Portugal on Friday.

Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales said firing Lopetegui wasn’t ideal, but had to happen after Madrid’s announcement.

”It’s a difficult situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken. The federation has its values and it has to maintain them,” Rubiales said. ”It may look like a weakness now, but with time this will make us stronger.”



Here’s a look at some other high-profile coaches in the United States who have had strange circumstances surround their dismissals:

LANE KIFFIN, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Kiffin’s self-described dream job ended with a spectacular thud in 2013 after he was fired during a 3 a.m. meeting at the Trojans’ private airport terminal. His dismissal came just hours after the team lost 62-41 to Arizona State. At the time, USC athletic director Pat Haden said ”It’s never the perfect time to do these things, but I thought it was the right time.”

WILLIE RANDOLPH, NEW YORK METS: Randolph’s firing in 2008 wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise because his job security had been a constant topic, but the timing was definitely strange. General manager Omar Minaya flew to the West Coast when the Mets were on the road and fired Randolph in the middle of the night, a few hours after the team had earned its third win in four games.

DAVID BLATT Barry Sanders Jersey , CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Blatt led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2015 and had the team sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference standings in 2016 with a 30-11 record when he fired. Wins alone didn’t tell the whole story – Blatt and star LeBron James had an uneven relationship. Cleveland elevated Tyronn Lue to head coach and the Cavaliers won the championship later that year.

HUGH FREEZE, MISSISSIPPI REBELS: Freeze led Mississippi to a 39-25 record and a Sugar Bowl victory over five seasons. He looked like he was going to survive a lengthy NCAA investigation into the program, but was fired just before preseason practice in 2017 when school officials found a ”pattern of personal misconduct” that started with an investigation into a one-minute call to an escort service.

JOE GIRARDI, FLORIDA MARLINS: Girardi led the Marlins to a 78-84 record during the 2006 season which was quite an accomplishment considering the franchise had a $15 million payroll which was the lowest in baseball that season. His firing wasn’t necessarily about things that happened on the field: Girardi and team owner Jeffrey Loria clashed after Girardi asked Loria to stop yelling at umpires from his seat behind home plate. Girardi would eventually be hired by the Yankees and lead them to a World Series title in 2009.




Marty Hurney will be calling the shots once again with the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina re-hired Hurney as its general manager on Wednesday, marking his second full-time stint as general manager. Hurney previously worked for the Panthers from 1998-2012, beginning as GM in 2002. He rejoined the Panthers last July as on an interim basis.

Panthers COO Tina Becker said Hurney did an ”exceptional” job in helping the Panthers to an 11-5 season last year.

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”Marty’s guidance and vision helped build the foundation for this team, and his work this season was instrumental in returning the team to the playoffs,” Becker said in news release. ”We believe he will continue to craft a roster that will win games and contend for a championship.”

The Panthers reinstated Hurney as interim general manager last week after an NFL investigation found no wrongdoing into charges of harassment by his ex-wife.

Hurney had been on a paid leave of absence during the investigation and had disputed all accusations through his attorney.

Hurney returned to the Panthers in an interim capacity in late July 2017, prior to the start of training camp after owner Jerry Richardson abruptly fired Dave Gettleman. Gettleman had served as the team’s general manager since 2013 and had helped the Panthers get to the playoffs three times in four seasons behind a team that Hurney largely constructed.

He said he’s excited to be in charge of personnel decisions in Carolina.

”I have always felt a strong connection to this organization and viewed this job as one of the very best in the NFL because of the people here,” Hurney said. ”Mr. Richardson and Tina have been open and honest with me from the beginning, and I am thankful for the trust they have placed in me.”

The Panthers made three playoff appearances Adidas Mark Stone Jersey , won two NFC South titles, and played in two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl under Hurney during his first tenure.

His last two first-round draft choices as general manager – quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly – both won NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Newton went on to become the league’s MVP in 2015 leading the Panthers to a 17-2 season, while Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in his second season.

Hurney also traded for tight end Greg Olsen and hit home runs on draft picks like center Ryan Kalil.

He also made a few mistakes along the way, including overpaying to keep some veteran players and trading up to get wide receiver Armanti Edwards from Appalachian State, a move that never panned out.

”I gained a lot of perspective being away and then back in an interim role last season,” Hurney said. ”I feel that I am the best person to help (coach) Ron (Rivera) and this team moving forward. We have a really special core of players in place, and I’m extremely excited about the direction we are headed.”

The Panthers went 11-5 last season with Hurney as their interim general manager, but lost in the wild card round of the playoffs to the New Orleans Saints.

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