The Pittsburgh Riverhounds made a stunning announcement on Tuesday afternoon — hiring Bob Lilley, who won the 2015 USL Cup with Rochester Rhinos, to replace Dave Brandt.
The Hounds were left with little choice but to find a replacement for Brandt, after it was deemed that he would be ineligible to coach under United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Division II requirements for the upcoming 2018 campaign, as Brandt does not hold a required “A” coaching license.
In hiring Lilley, the Hounds picked up an experienced, proven winner as the 10th coach in club history.
Lilley joins the Hounds after six seasons with the Rhinos — two stints from 2010 through 2017 — amassing a 87-37-53 record. He led Rochester to the playoffs in every year at the helm, including winning the USL Cup in 2015.
“We are highly disappointed with this news, but understand the necessity to comply with the league’s decision,” Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger said. “Dave has been nothing shy of first class since joining the organization. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the Riverhounds and he has left the team in a significantly better position than when he arrived.
“Moving forward, we must continue to operate at the highest professional standards at all levels and do feel very fortunate to welcome Bob to the Riverhounds team. His level of success within the USL is one that goes without saying and something we have had to endure plenty of times both here in Pittsburgh and on the road. Having Bob in our corner is an incredibly fortunate and exciting result to an unfortunate circumstance.”
Lilley was given permission from the Rhinos to speak with Shallenberger when the Hounds realized they needed to hire a new coach.
“He was the first person I wanted,” Shallenberger added.
Lilley, who found success in Rochester despite a tumultuous ownership situation in recent years, is jumping at the chance at coming to Pittsburgh — as he raved about what the Hounds’ organization has done to foster soccer’s growth in Pittsburgh and to take steps forward to get to the next level.
“I am excited and honored to join the Pittsburgh Riverhounds organization. They have made tremendous strides as a club to move forward in the modern USL,” Lilley said. “Tuffy’s investment and ability to tap into the corporate community in Pittsburgh, as well as the phenomenal growth of their youth development model has this team poised to continue its rise in prominence.”
A native of Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Lilley began his professional coaching career in 1997 with the Hershey Wildcats in the USL A-League. His five seasons with the club saw him earn USL-A Coach of the Year honors in his first year and not once fail to reach the playoffs.
Lilley even spoke about his brief stint in Pittsburgh playing for the Pittsburgh Stingers of the Continental Indoor Soccer League in 1994.
More coverage from today’s press conference on DK Pittsburgh Sports later in the day and in the coming weeks.