When the Dakota Jackalopes fired coach Harold Engellund at the end of the 2017 season after a three-season tenure, it seemed likely that he would land a job elsewhere in fairly short order. That happened today, as the Seattle Sailors announced that they had hired Engellund as head coach, replacing Stewart Corrigan.
“We’ve been looking for the coach who can take our team to the next level,” said Sailors GM Jay McKay. “Harold checks all the boxes for us. We’re really glad to have him.”
After dismissing Corrigan, whose frequent temperamental outbursts were legendary, the Sailors were looking for a calmer hand on the tiller. In addition, with a fairly young roster, Seattle wanted to find an experienced bench boss. The 59-year-old Engellund has over 25 seasons of coaching experience, and his even-keeled demeanor couldn’t be more different from the volatile Corrigan.
“Harold is everything we’re looking for in a coach,” said McKay. “He’s an experienced teacher, the perfect man to mold a young roster and help us grow. And he’s also a stable, calming personality, which is definitely a good change of pace for us.”
Engellund was well-liked by both players and fans in Dakota; he compiled an 84-85-11 record during his time there. But he frequently clashed with the front office over roster decisions and the direction of the team. After compiling a 22-35-3 record in 2016, a season when the Jackalopes were expected to contend, Engellund was dismissed.
“It was a shame the way things ended for Dakota, but it worked out for the best,” said Engellund. “They obviously wanted to go in a different direction, and I wasn’t going to fight about it. Now I’m here in Seattle, which is a great city, and I’ve got the chance to work with a great young team. I’ll miss the players in Dakota, but I can’t wait to get started here.”
Engellund said that he had also interviewed with the expansion Kansas City Smoke, but that he was drawn to the Sailors “because they’re a little further along. With an expansion team, it’s a pig in a poke. You have no idea what you’re getting. Here in Seattle, we’ve got some fast, young players and good scorers. It reminds me a lot of the situation in Dakota, actually.”
The coach said that he’d like to see the Sailors get to a .500 record in his first year, and go to the playoffs in “two or three years. I know it’s a tough division – Anchorage and Michigan are both tough teams – but I think we can take a run at them.”