Spain’s Julen Lopetegui joins long line of strange coach firings – The Denver Post

Spain has made a coaching change just two days before the start of the World Cup in a move that will be heavily scrutinized over the coming weeks.

Was it a surprise move? Absolutely.

But the history of coaching dismissals in soccer and every other sport is littered with strange timing, strange decisions and strange circumstances. Now Julen Lopetegui’s case joins them.

Lopetegui was fired as Spain’s national team coach on Wednesday after accepting a job to lead Real Madrid next season. He will be replaced by Fernando Hierro for the country’s match against Portugal on Friday.

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Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales said firing Lopetegui wasn’t ideal, but had to happen after Madrid’s announcement.

“It’s a difficult situation, but we are not the ones who determined the action that had to be taken. The federation has its values and it has to maintain them,” Rubiales said. “It may look like a weakness now, but with time this will make us stronger.”


Here’s a look at some other high-profile coaches in the United States who have had strange circumstances surround their dismissals:

LANE KIFFIN, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Kiffin’s self-described dream job ended with a spectacular thud in 2013 after he was fired during a 3 a.m. meeting at the Trojans’ private airport terminal. His dismissal came just hours after the team lost 62-41 to Arizona State. At the time, USC athletic director Pat Haden said “It’s never the perfect time to do these things, but I thought it was the right time.”

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