When the Maryland Bays lost coach Pete Caringi to the head coaching job at UMBC, Bays owner John Liparini had no idea what an impressive lineup would come through the door to interview for Caringi's old job.
"I've got to narrow it to one by the end of the week, and it won't be an easy decision," said Liparini. "They're all good, competitive people and each one comes with his own different outlook and viewpoints."
Yesterday, Liparini interviewed two former Blast players: goalkeeper Keith Van Eron and forward David MacWilliams. Late last week, he talked to Centennial High School coach Bill Stara, former UMBC coach John Ellinger and Dennis Krupa, the former assistant at Loyola College.
MacWilliams played here for six years before finishing his Major Soccer League career in Chicago, and still feels strong ties to the local community. He spent last season coaching Penn Jersey of the American Professional Soccer League, finishing with a 13-7 record.
"What I like about the Bays is that they're so professionally run," said MacWilliams, who was in the midst of negotiating a new contract with Penn Jersey when he told them he wanted to talk to the Bays. "The Bays have a sound nucleus of players, and it would be exciting to coach them. Whoever comes in there will make some changes, but you don't want to mess with it too much because they've been so successful."
The defending APSL champion, released its schedule today and will begin practice March 17 for the season opener at Penn Jersey May 4. Most home games ared played at Columbia's Cedar Lane Park, but four are slated for RFK Stadium in Washington.
Liparini said he feels compelled to make his coaching choice by Friday, because he wants the details worked out and the new coach in place before the training sessions start.
Van Eron, of course, is a familiar face here. He runs his own sporting goods business in Cockeysville and he too spent six seasons with the Blast, before retiring after the 1987-88 season.
He currently coaches two under-10 boys teams, one under-12 girls team, and one under-19 boys team and he himself plays outdoor soccer every week with an over-30 team, La Dolce Vita.
"I don't have any real pro experience coaching," admitted Van Eron, 35. "But I probably have more experience at the pro level than anyone, as a player on the field. And as a goalkeeper, you direct a lot of the action from your position. I've also had great role models who I've played for," he said, naming MSL coaches Kenny Cooper, Al Miller, Don Popovic and Timo Liekoski.
"I told Mr. Liparini, all I can guarantee is that I'll work my butt off."
Both MacWilliams and Van Eron are new to Liparini, but the cast he interviewed late last week was familiar. Still, the owner said he is keeping an open mind.
"I'm taking care, because I want a coach who will fit in well with the team," said Liparini, who planned to interview several other prospects before his self-imposed Friday deadline. "When Pete was here, he knew everyone and it was like a family. We've got a good team with a bunch of go-getters, and I don't want to introduce someone that will be drastically different."
Krupa had worked as an assistant to Loyola College coach Bill Sento for seven years, before resigning.
"He's not a stranger to me," Liparini said. "He felt he had done all he could do to help the Loyola program and has been floating around the area, looking for some way back into soccer."
Stara has coached the last 10 years at Centennial, winning three state titles. He talked with Liparini Thursday. Like all the )R candidates, he thought the interview went well.
Stara said he didn't think it would be necessary tom give up coaching at Centennial if he got the Bay job.
"John and I haven't discussed that yet," he said. "I don't think there would be a conflict. The Bays play until Sept. 28. The high schools start practice Aug. 15. Pete [Caringi] was able to coach at Essex at the same time, with the Bays practicing in the evening."
BAYS' '91 SCHEDULE
(May 4 -- at Penn-Jersey, 7:30
May 11 -- Fort Lauderdale, 7
May 19 -- Penn-Jersey (at RFK), 6
May 25 -- Tampa Bay, 8
June 1 -- at Tampa Bay, 8
June 8 -- Miami, 7
June 16 -- Millonarios (at RFK), 6
June 21 -- at Salt Lake City, 9:30
June 30 -- Colorado (at RFK), 6
July 5 -- at Colorado, 9
July 6 -- at San Francisco, 5
July 14 -- Salt Lake City, 7
July 20 -- at Penn-Jersey, 7:30
July 21 -- at Albany, 3
July 28 -- Penn-Jersey, 7
Aug. 3 -- at Albany, 7:30
Aug. 4 -- Albany, 7
Aug. 10 -- San Francisco (at RFK), 6
Aug. 17 -- Albany, 7
Aug. 23 -- at Fort Lauderdale, 7:30
Aug. 24 -- at Miami, 8