Now introducing the coach of the Baltimore Bays . . . Kevin Healey.
That was the reaction of some soccer fans when Healey, 37, was chosen as coach of Baltimore's indoor and outdoor entry in the U.S. Interregional Soccer League.
But the truth is that Healey has been the best-kept soccer coaching secret in Baltimore for at least the past 10 years.
He has coached Baltimore teams (Dundalk Post 38 and Hummers) to four straight national amateur indoor soccer championships from 1990 to 1993, coached almost every Baltimore-born soccer player who has made it to the Blast, Spirit or the Bays, won 10 youth-league outdoor state championships, and has the Bays off to a 7-0 start entering tonight's game against the Hampton Roads Hurricanes at Du Burns Arena.
So what makes this man with a calm demeanor tick in the sometimes-hostile world of indoor soccer?
It is the ability to take what he has learned in the business world vTC as vice president and assistant comptroller at Provident Bank of Maryland and relate it to professional soccer players who have been more used to coming on like a sledgehammer than a nice guy.
"I'm constantly telling them that the way you've done things in the past may not necessarily be the right way," Healey said.
"I tell them that it is no accident that people in business are successful because they do things a certain way. I want my players to talk, butnot to scream at each other. I tell them to avoid confrontations that show each other up. Even if they disagree with a person on the field, say 'yes' and then settle the dispute later in private."
The Bays coach says an argumentative atmosphere "is OK" when a team is winning, but becomes a problem when losing sets in.
Also, Healey says he believes all players should be treated the same no matter what their status is.
In the first game of the season at Du Burns, former Blast standout Billy Ronson was watching the last few minutes of an 11-3 rout over Hampton Roads from the steps leading to the locker room.
"Come down here with the rest of the team," Healey said calmly to the sometimes fiery Ronson.
Ronson pleaded his case briefly, but gave in to Healey.
Bays general manager Ben Neil, who calls himself more confrontational than Healey, said he has learned some things from the coach.
"I'd do some things differently than Kevin does them," Neil said. "But he's been right a lot. He's not a screamer, but a motivator. He treats all people the same and offers constructive criticism. He's low-key but effective."
Neil, an East Baltimore attorney, credits Healey with playing a major role in bringing the Bays here.
"Kevin had coached in national tournaments that were run by Francisco Marcos [USISL commissioner] and told me to give Marcos a call," Neil said.
"I had been working toward getting an Arena Soccer League team in Baltimore, but it didn't go over. So I was looking for something else when Kevin told me about the USISL. I then got together a group of investors [including president Bill Wallace] and went for a team."
Healey, who played soccer at Calvert Hall and was a member of Loyola College's 1976 Division II national championship team, believes he got the Bays' position because of his vast involvement in soccer in the Baltimore community.
"I'm not a marquee name," he said. "I never played for the Blast or played professional soccer, but they [Bays] believed in my record and sawme as a guy in the soccer community. That is the theme of the team."
In addition to his Bays position, Healey plans to coach his 9-year-old son, Patrick, in the Bel Air recreation council soccer league and daughter, Alison, who plays for the Under 14 Soccer Club Baltimore Strikers; and continue as president of the Baltimore Beltway Soccer League.
"I love to coach," he said. "I made sure that when I accepted the Bays job I wouldn't change anything I was doing. I don't want to turn my back on my family. My wife, Dawn, helps run the beltway league."
Asked if he would consider moving to a higher level, Healey said: "I'm in the same position as my players. I have to consider my job as my first responsibility. If I can't make enough money in coaching to support my family, I have to keep a coaching position like the Bays that can fit in with my job."
Opponent: Hampton Roads Hurricanes
Site: Du Burns Arena
Radio: WITH (1230 AM)
Tickets: Some available
Outlook: The Bays (7-0) have passed the halfway point in their 13-game regular season and will be going for a second win over the Hurricanes. Baltimore defeated Hampton, 11-3, in the season opener Nov. 26 at Du Burns. The Bays have outscored their opponents, 123-23, this season. Baltimore has the league's third-leading goal scorer in M Joe Layfield (17) and leader in assists in M Billy Ronson (24). F Eric Riedlbauer has been the hottest Bays player the past two games, with five goals and five assists.