Best Coach - 2001
When Ray Hudson won his first game as Miami Fusion head coach, he kissed his players on the lips, grabbed team co-owner Ken Horowitz in a bear hug, swung him around and announced, "I'm higher than a hippie at Woodstock." This transplanted Scot may not know the meaning of the word restraint, but he knows enough others to be a veritable quote machine. He sums up the task facing the defense saying it "needs to be on its tippy-toes, like a midget at a urinal." Commenting on the change in his team's play, he says, "This team was as dangerous as my grandmother knitting a quilt." Explaining how a winning tide can turn, he says, "We have the slushy in the cup holder. The music is playing. There are no problems, and then all hell breaks loose." On his own job, he says, "It's like juggling balls on a high wire while riding a unicycle." But his similes of circus acts aside, there is no question that the man who first made his mark on South Florida as a midfielder for the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale Strikers is no clown. In less than a year, he has turned the beleaguered soccer club around. And the story of how he got the chance to do it is almost as good as his quotes. One day last spring Hudson was working as the team's community outreach manager, selling pro soccer to school kids. The next day, he was tapped to be the team's head coach. Did he really want the job? "Guys now say, Hey, coach,' and I thought about what if I don't get this job, what are they going to say: Hey, community outreach manager'? I don't want that, you know? I like coach." The players and the fans like it, too.