Can Cooper, Van Eron team to manage Spirit?

May 17, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Kenny Cooper and Keith Van Eron will confer tomorrow to determine if they can function as a team with the Spirit.

Van Eron, a goalie for the now defunct Blast, has met twice with owner Bill Stealey about the Spirit coaching job that Cooper relinquished after the season. Cooper and Van Eron -- who have had several recent phone conversations -- will meet at Stealey's request.

"Kenny and I need to know if we can work together," Van Eron said. "Can we make it work? That's the key point for both of us."

When he was a Blast goalie in the 1980s, Van Eron, now 38, sometimes clashed with Cooper, the coach.

"We're both competitive and stubborn," Van Eron said. "I wasn't happy to just collect a paycheck, and when I was put on the shelf [benched] I didn't take it too kindly. There was a whole half of a season left; it was tough for me."

Van Eron, a close friend of Stealey's, is convinced that he and Cooper, still the president and general manager, can work in harmony.

"We did for six years," Van Eron said, referring to his six seasons as a Blast goalie. "And we were pretty successful."

Cooper declined to comment about "the way he [Van Eron] felt or feels today" about their relationship.

The emergence of Van Eron in the past five days as a candidate appears to weaken the candidacy of Mike Stankovic, the Spirit's assistant coach and Cooper's first choice as his successor.

Another possible candidate, Jim Pollihan, the Harrisburg Heat coach who played and coached here under Cooper, said he had not been in contact with Stealey about the job.

"I have a commitment to Harrisburg," said Pollihan. "I'm comfortable with it."

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