Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin won’t have talk of a contract extension hanging over his head during the team’s push toward the playoffs after Sporting Director Ernst Tanner announced a two-year extension on Curtin’s contract on Wednesday.
“I think Jim deserves this,” Tanner said prior to Curtin’s weekly press conference at Talen Energy Stadium. “He’s a great coach, good on the field, a great leader in the locker room and in addition he’s getting quite well along with you guys from all that I know.”
The 40-year-old Oreland, Pa. native has been at the helm since 2014 after joining the club initially as an academy coach and earning a promotion to assistant coach in 2013 under John Hackworth.
Tanner, who took over last September, initially gave Curtin another one-year deal as a way to evaluate his fit with how he wanted to shape the club going forward. Curtin has responded with a more flexible tactical approach than he had under Earnie Stewart and after leading the team to a club best 50 points last season is on pace to exceed that with a team that’s current at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I don’t want this to sound like we’ve accomplished anything yet this year because there’s still a lot of work to do,” Curtin said. “We’ve had a very good partnership with Ernst and myself and it continues to grow.”
Curtin said he is grateful to continue to get to coach his hometown team and added that having the multi-year extension finalized provides piece of mind and shows the belief Tanner has in him to continue to push the team toward that elusive first playoff win.
“He has the right attitude,” Tanner said. “The way he is guiding not only him but his staff in addition and the way how he shows cooperation. He’s open to everybody here, he listens and we can discuss openly what we are seeing on the field. We are not always of the same opinion, which is good and normal.”
Curtin is the third longest tenured coach in the league behind Middletown, Pa. native Ben Olsen, who has coached D.C. United since 2010, and Delran, N.J. native Peter Vermes, who has led Sporting Kansas City since 2009.