In a monumental shake-up this morning, the Baltimore Blast announced that David Bascome would replace Danny Kelly as the team’s Head Coach effective immediately.
For Kelly it marks the end of one of the most successful coaching runs in professional sports. Since taking over the team when Tim Wittman got suspended for assaulting a referee in Stockton in 2006, Kelly had gone 228-93 in the regular season and coached the Blast to seven league titles.
Kelly was also recognized by his peers, winning four Coach of the Year Awards. From the 2010-11 season to 2017-18, he led the Blast to eight straight finals appearances.
For Bascome it’s a long overdue opportunity for the former player who has served as Blast assistant coach since the start of the 2006-07 season.
No reason was given by the team for the move other than, “Danny Kelly has moved on,” an epitaph not befitting the success Kelly sustained as both a player and a coach for the team, since they signed him as a free agent before the 1998-99 season. The Blast’s press release didn’t quote Kelly, Bascome, or team owner Ed Hale.
When contacted, several players declined to comment.
The 2019-20 MASL season has not officially been terminated. Just last week the league was discussing a plan for a modified playoffs, with the Blast among the mix of teams who would be eligible.
Bascome is one of the most successful and longest tenured assistant coaches in any sport, but he has turned down other head coaching opportunities in the past. “I was offered a position on other teams but with my company and Bermuda work I had no interest,” Bascome says.
The chance to take over the head spot on one of arena soccer’s most legendary franchises was not a planned succession. “This was a surprise, but was not a decision that was easy to accept as I had many things to consider from personal to professional before taking this position, and after there was clarity with these things I was able to make myself available for the position. I also had to shift things around with my Bermuda schedule to make this happen, as what I do in my country is very important.”
Finally, Bascome had to assess whether he could maintain the continuity he and Kelly established the last 15 years. “Understand, with the work Danny and I put in to the success of this team I wanted to make sure that the integrity of this work was protected and an environment was going to be created for continued growth of the players,” he said.