The United Soccer Leagues announced today that Casey Mann is the Premier Development League’s 2009 Coach of the Year, voted on by coaches and general managers from the league’s 68 teams.
Mann led the Des Moines Menace to the Heartland Division’s regular-season and playoff championships in his fifth and final season as the club’s head coach.
“I'm thankful for the award and the recognition,” Mann said. “I'm truly honored because I know that there are so many great coaches and teams in the PDL. So to even just be considered for the award was special to me.”
The 2009 Menace finished 12-2-4 overall. A pair of 1-0 losses – against defending PDL champ Thunder Bay on July 4 and in the league quarterfinals to Cary on July 31 – kept the team from an undefeated season and the Final Four.
“I think this award says as much about the team as anything,” Mann said. “With no superstars, they came together through all the ups and downs of a young team in an early season and really bought into our philosophy. I am so proud of those guys and consider myself lucky to have coached them.
“It has been a really fun five years. All the players that I have been fortunate enough to coach in the PDL and all the fans and Red Army that have supported me will be something that I always cherish and remember.”
Mann guided the Menace to the 2005 PDL championship in his first season, and he holds the franchise’s record for career wins. In the last five years, Des Moines has amassed a 48-19-13 mark in the regular season, appearing in the PDL playoffs three times (going 5-2) and making it to the U.S. Open Cup in 2005 and 2006.
The former Menace goalie and Grand View College standout from Omaha has also been the Menace Academy’s Director of Coaching for five years. For most of this time, his wife, Tawnya, has served as the academy’s main contact in the office.
“There have been so many families that have supported myself and Tawnya through these years,” Mann reflected. “We realize how special it was to be around them. So many good kids, not just good soccer players, but good kids are in the Menace Academy and it felt like a family to us. I think we will miss that quite a bit.”
In early June, the team announced that Mann and the Menace organization reached a mutual agreement to not renew his contract. The coach’s tenure officially expired on Aug. 1. Tawnya is in her final days as a member of the team’s front-office staff.
“First and foremost I have to thank my wife, Tawnya, because without all her support I couldn’t have done any of this. And also because of all the hard work she has done behind the scenes for the Menace as a whole,” Mann said. “I have been more proud of her and her work than of anything I have ever done on the field.
“Secondly, I really want to thank all the fans and families. We always strove to make the Menace a family, and it is their support that has made our time special. I also want to thank both GM's and all the office staff I have been lucky to have support me. Al (Oatsvall) and Todd (Meiners) have been able to find a way to help with all the requests I have had over the years and have put in just as much work as I have.”