Old Glory has announced that the team will be moving on from head coach Andrew Douglas, effective immediately. Douglas has been the only head coach the club has ever had, leading them from the very first days of the 2019 exhibition season to the present day. At the time of his release, he was the longest-tenured head coach in the league.

While the timing of this news was unexpected, the truth is that the situation is not a shocker. After a strong 4-1 start to the 2020 season was cut off by the pandemic, OGDC has failed to impress. The team's first full season in 2021 was competitive by rocky, leading to a 6-9-1 final record and a missed shot at the playoffs. In 2022, things have become dramatically worse, with the team losing every match so far for an 0-7 record. Furthermore, the losses haven't been particularly close, with the two biggest ever losses for the team and a -130 point differential.

Early in the season, the losses were at least understandable, with injuries and visa issues causing problems. However, we are well past the time when those excuses would hold up. Even with a healthy team and a talented roster, Old Glory has still struggled to find success on the pitch. In the end, change was a necessity.

While a coach firing in the middle of the season might seem strange, it does give the team a head start on the rebuild. By writing off the season, it gives the team a chance to remove any concern of performance and instead focus on aligning things for next season. It also gives the owners a chance to get a new coach in with enough time for them to reshape the roster before next season.

So where does Old Glory go from here?

For the immediate future, the team will move forward with an interim coach who will see out the remainder of the season. In general, interim coaches are promoted from within the organization to maintain continuity and trust from the players. The obvious candidates would be the assistant coaches: James Willock, Toshi Palamo, or Callum Gibbins. However, Old Glory could look outside the organization as well and pick up either a local coach like Navy's Gavin Hickie or an unattached national coach like Scott Lawrence. Regardless, we shouldn't have to wait long for this news.

Long term, a lot will depend on the owners, Paul Sheehy and Chris Dunlavey, and what they want to do with the organization. Success on the pitch is just one part of putting together a good organization, and they will want to balance getting the best possible coach with the other priorities they have. With other teams signing big name coaches, the pressure could be on finding a star foreign coach to bring in for next year. Or, we could see the owners emphasize the local connection with one of the up-and-coming American coaches. At this point, there's no way to know.

With a coaching turnover often comes player turnover, so we could see a significant shakeup in the offseason. While I would expect most or all of the current players to finish out their contracts, whoever the new long-term coach is will want to build the roster to match their style of coaching. We could see some players who don't fit that mold depart, even if they are good players in their own right. We saw as much happen in Houston, whose star flyhalf Sam Windsor departed after the coaching change. Hopefully, some of the fan favorites of the last few years will stick around, but nothing is guaranteed.

A lot is about to change. Given the state of the team's record right now, it's safe to assume it will be for the better.


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