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Riverhounds introduce Bob Lilley as head coach

By Riverhounds Staff, 11/14/17, 8:45PM EST

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PITTSBURGH (November 14, 2017) – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds formally introduced new head coach Bob Lilley earlier today, Nov. 14, in a press conference at Highmark Stadium. The transcript including statements from both Lilley and team owner Tuffy Shallenberger can be found below.

Team Owner Tuffy Shallenberger

Opening Statement…

With the success of the USL going to division II, it’s caused us to make some changes on a couple different fronts. We all know we’re going to have to add some seats to the stadium to get into compliance and also it’s caused us to make a coaching change. First of all, I’d like to thank Dave Brandt for all he’s done. We feel like he’s put the club in a better spot. I respect Dave a lot, but this all comes down to a licensing issue. It’s just we were not in compliance like I said earlier. We have a responsibility to be in compliance, so with that comes the excitement of introducing our new head coach, Mr. Bob Lilley from Rochester.

On why he chose Bob Lilley as head coach…

We had to get into compliance and naturally the first person to come to mind was Bob. Being friends with Rochester, the ownership, Dave and Wendy up there, and I think they probably have a press conference going on at the same time. They were teetering on whether Bob’s option’s going to be, they were going to exercise his option or not. He was my first choice.

Head coach Bob Lilley

Opening Statement…

Thanks, Tuffy. I’m excited to be here. Thanks to all of you for showing up. Looking forward to get started here in Pittsburgh. It’s a dynamic city. I was here in 1994 as a player for the old Pittsburgh Stingers, which was in the Continental Indoor Soccer League. Paul Child was my coach, so some of you will know that name. I think one of the things exciting for me is how dynamic the league has become over the last three years, the growth of USL. The MLS teams that have come on, the second teams, the cities are evolving yearly, new franchises, it’s growing, it’s very healthy. The fact that I’ve been in the league a long time and see Pittsburgh growing over these past few years, I think the last three years, how much this club has moved forward through Tuffy’s investment and obviously reaching out into the corporate community, the fan base has grown, the youth development side is very impressive. There’s a lot of things to get excited about. We’ve had some really successful teams in Rochester, but it’s been a tough go of it there on the business side. I think it takes both sides to ultimately be successful. There’s got to be growth on both sides.

Similar to my teams, I try to get everyone – they say “aw, you’re a great defensive coach,” and I’m like, “when we’re winning, we’re getting goals and we’re defending well.” You got to get it right at both ends. You got to make sure you continue to move forward because the league is always going to get better. I’m looking forward to working with the staff. Ultimately, we want to build a consistent winner here that’s in the playoffs every year and ultimately wins a championship – you know the history of Pittsburgh sports. I did mention I was here in 1994. First home game was in the “Igloo” with all the sponsors, now I don’t know the names of every arena now. Franco Harris kicked out the first ball, so I do have a tie-in. I’m a Pennsylvania kid in a lot of ways. I’m excited to be here and part of this project with the staff – I’ve met a number of them today and many of them, Jason Kutney and John Rotz, some of these guys I’ve gotten to know through the years. I know they’re good at what they do. It’s a great opportunity for my career. I look forward to working with all of you, and hopefully we’re going to get it right on both ends, the business side and on the field side. One final thing I did want to say in regards to Dave Brandt, I feel fortunate, tricky situation for him, but I know Dave has some good players he’s brought in here. I know the team side is in a good position to move forward. Obviously, there will be some changes, but he’s left me in a good spot to come in and hopefully continue to build on what he’s started and have success pretty quickly. That’s the goal. I think Tuffy’s brought some good people in here. I hope I am someone who will be able to deliver for him as some others have and will have success moving forward. Thanks.

On evaluating players…

November 30 all the options, we have to make decisions on players. I have a good idea on the roster. We played Pittsburgh and Dave’s been incredibly helpful the last few days. This has transpired since last Wednesday/Thursday. We started to talk and we finalized some things over the weekend. It’s happened quickly, so I’ve tried to get as much information as I could and I expect it to move quickly because of the players. We need to focus on them and make the decisions on them, but I still have some more conversations I have to have. We do have a player combine on Thursday and Friday with players who were scheduled to come in, we’re going to evaluate and start the process. We have to have a bar. There are a number of resources internally with coaches, but also some people on the staff. Once I sit down, I’ll have a better picture. I would expect us to be giving you guys a clear picture on what players are staying. Certainly, it has to be by November 30. You’ll have a good idea. There’s talent, so we’ll certainly move forward with a number of the guys. There’s going to be some difficult decisions we’re going to have to make to reshape certain components on the team. I think you guys will see that I’m not here to burn down the house. I’m here to add on to some of the positives that have already been put in place.

On having a coaching staff set up…

I have a number of guys who have played for me and have moved on to the coaching ranks. Last year, I had a partnership with Mark Pulisic in Rochester. He’s fortunate to have a son who’s doing pretty well and he likes flexibilities and he leaves for Germany tomorrow. He’s a possibility, but I won’t know from him for a while because he’s looking at a number of different things. We’ll certainly have other people involved with the staff. I want to talk to the existing people in place because I know Dave has confidence in those guys so I want to work with those guys, get a feel for everyone. If we have people here who can do the job for us, then I’m inclined to not disrupt everything and start over. But that’s going to take a little bit of time before we make those final decisions of what we’re doing going forward.

On how his coaching style will fit in Pittsburgh…

I’ve had leading scorers in the league and league MVPs. I’ve been around for a while – 1997 I started and going to Montreal and Vancouver had different player personnel and we won in different ways. Even this year, you could have seen us be really tight here, but if you go watch the first half of the Louisville playoff game, the team that won it last night. I encourage you to go on YouTube and watch the first half Rochester play Louisville off the park and they were struggling to get over midfield. We’re going to get in people’s faces. We’re going to compete. I like to build flexibility in my teams, versatility in the players and I like to adapt to what we can do best and be able to change tactics depending on opponents. For me, I enjoy that in the game and I think a lot of my teams later in the season as they get tactically sharper we know exactly how we play the best and all the things that we can do, we tend to become very dangerous in the big games late in the season and in the playoffs. We’ll look like a different team sometimes.

On how his Rochester team finished the 2017 season…

We had worked to that point all year. I couldn’t be prouder how we finished the season and how positive and aggressive we were first round against Charlotte. It’s no secret. We won a championship a couple years ago and lost a lot of players – only had two back from that and lost Dos Santos and Volesky, two pretty good forwards, last year. We were short on weapons, but we were proactive in always trying to attack, always trying to press.

On handling player markets and signings…

I think there are probably some good resources in terms of the player market and the agents and those things. I know coaches here have relationships with fine players in all areas. I think Jason Kutney is someone I’ll be able to work with.