The Houston Dash have hired longtime OL Reign assistant coach Sam Laity as their new head coach, the team announced Wednesday.
The 46-year-old Englishman had coached for OL Reign since the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013, and he served as the club’s interim head coach for six games in 2021.
“He is a players’ coach with the respect and trust of players, staff, and stakeholders across our league and sport,” Dash general manager Alex Singer said. “He has seen the ups and downs through the evolution of the NWSL and knows what it takes to be successful.”
Orange is his color 😏#HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/WY0X9VjVUF— Houston Dash (@HoustonDash) December 21, 2022
Orange is his color 😏#HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/WY0X9VjVUF
Laity becomes the fourth head coach in Dash history, and he follows two coaches who were implicated in the the NWSL and NWSLPA investigation into “widespread misconduct” in the league.
The club elected not to renew the contract of former head coach and general manager James Clarkson in the aftermath of the investigation. The findings, released earlier this month, found that he created a culture of “anxiety and fear” within the Dash locker room.
Interviews with 26 current and former Dash players and staff members painted a picture of the coach as “volatile, verbally abusive, and as not showing appropriate regard for players’ wellbeing,” per the report.
Clarkson, who was hired ahead of the 2019 season, was suspended in April as a result of the investigation, and his contract was set to expire at the end of the year.
He had stepped into the head coaching position vacated by Vera Pauw, who led the Dash in 2018 but stepped down after one season. She weight-shamed players and “attempted to exert excessive control over their eating habits,” per the report.