PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 10: Assistant coach John Hackworth of the Philadelphia Union yells from the sideline during the game against D.C. United on April 10, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Head coach Peter Nowak was absent for the game. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Yesterday's weekly press conference was canceled, but that did not stop the Philadelphia Union from announcing what may be the biggest news in the franchise's short history.
Nick Sakiewicz, Union CEO and Managing Partner, informed the media at a 2:00 p.m. press conference at PPL Park that the team had chosen to move on from head coach Peter Nowak. An emotional Sakiewicz, his eyes reddening and appearing to water throughout the press conference, tried to choose his words wisely.
"Today we're announcing that Peter Nowak is stepping down as our head coach and team manager," Sakiewicz said. "I made the decision to do that. We determined that we were no longer on the same page."
The former Major League Soccer Executive of the Year evaded questions concerning Nowak's reign, instead choosing to focus mostly on what he called philosophical differences. Otherwise, Sakiewicz chose to praise Nowak's time as coach of the Union.
"I think Peter did the best he can while he was here," Sakiewicz said. "He is a very good coach and his instincts on the sideline are among the best I've ever seen. [They're] almost second to none. He brought a lot to the club. But I made the decision because I felt we weren't philosophically on the same page anymore."
Sitting next to Sakiewicz was John Hackworth, formerly Nowak's no. 2, patiently awaiting his opportunity to speak. When he got the chance, Hackworth was quick to say that he was ready to take over and was hoping for a change in form for the team.
"If I do my job right, they'll be prepared and hopefully we'll get a good result," Hackworth said. "I'm very honored to be in this position."
Hackworth was named by Sakiewicz as a direct replacement for Nowak across the board in terms of managerial and soccer responsibilities.
"[He] will take over responsibilities as the interim team manager," Sakiewicz said. "He will oversee all soccer operations."
The Union were 2-7-2 at the time of Nowak's departure, leaving them in second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference and in MLS overall.