Haffar officially resigns as coach

by Vania Quiroz

Aziz Haffar has officially announced his resignation after coaching at Simpson for 10 years.

“The same day that he announced that he wouldn’t be the soccer coach, we started our [search] process,” said John Sirianni, director of athletics and baseball coach.

Sirianni said Simpson won’t rely on receiving applications for the position, and the college has already invited two possible candidates to submit their applications. The college has already scheduled interviews with these candidates.

Both candidates are currently coaching NCAA Division III soccer teams, one in Iowa and the other in Minnesota.

Last week Sirianni met with the men’s soccer team to talk about Haffar’s resignation.

Junior Charlie Petersen, co-captain of the men’s soccer team, was at that meeting. Petersen is also on the seach committee to find a replacement for Haffar.

“Sirianni couldn’t go into details,” Petersen said. “Basically, he told us Simpson was going in one direction and Aziz [Haffar] was going in a different one.”

Sirianni said the meeting was held to clarify any misunderstandings and make sure the players knew exactly what was happening.

“I talked to them about the process,” Sirianni said. “We encourage them to be part of the selection process and to provide feedback. We want them to have input in the program.”

There’s no set deadline but Sirianni hopes to have a coach named before spring break.

“The biggest concern right now is recruiting,” Sirianni said. “We need to hire a quality coach [who] can recruit and provide the leadership to make Simpson a successful program.”

Petersen wants the new coach to be enthusiastic about the program.

“I hope he comes in with an immediate impact on the program,” Petersen said. “A new spark to get everyone in the team motivated and pointed into a good direction.”

The search committee for this process consists of seven faculty and staff and two students:Sirianni; Ron Peterson, assistant athletic director and wrestling coach; Lana Smith, senior women’s administrator and volleyball coach; Bob Nutgrass, associate professor of physical education; Professor of Mathematics Bruce Sloan; Women’s Head Coach Cory Chapman; Admissions Counselor Jeremy Johnson and co-captains sophomore Mark Pleiss and Petersen.