Late on Monday, the Houston Dynamo announced they had parted ways with Paulo Nagamura as their head coach. They installed Dynamo 2 head coach Kenny Bundy as the interim head coach. Here are three reasons why he should be the permanent head coach.
The Houston Dynamo labeled Bundy as the interim head coach for the final five games of the season so that they could say they are doing their due diligence in finding the next head coach. This was not a knee jerk reaction to the latest 2-1 loss by Houston, it was a move that had been being discussed behind closed doors for while. Nagamura was not the type of player nor the type of coach that just wakes up and calls it a day. He is not Owen Coyle. Bundy though is the right guy for the job.
First, Houston fans have come to know Bundy through his work with the Academy U-19 and U-23's.He has taken the Dynamo 2 from the ground floor to the playoffs in the inaugural season of MLS Next Pro. He, also, coach the Brazos Valley Cavalry FC to the 2019 USL League Two Mid-West South Division Title and the conference finals. Bundy is not only a winner but he is the most qualified candidate knowledgeable about the Dynamo players in the pipeline. The organization will not need to find players for the new head coach, they are already here. This would be a seamless transition.
Second, everywhere he has been in the organization his teams have excelled. In the USL, his team put together a record of 10-0-2 earning 32 of a possible 36 points. With the Dynamo 2, his team started its' run to the playoffs posting a record 7-1-2 in their first 10 including five straight wins out of the gate. His team has conceded the fewest goals in the MLS Next Pro League while averaging two plus goals per match. It's been a long time since the Houston Dynamo came anywhere close to that.
Third, his message is always the same. The message is very simple. Everything is about winning. He creates a culture of winning in very little time. Whether at Brazos Valley or the Dynamo 2, nothing has changed.
“I think if you watched our performance last night, and knowing that we’d already clinched the playoff spot, you can see that our goal wasn’t just that,” Bundy said about the game. “Our goal is to perform every day, to showcase the players and how we’re playing. I think last night showed exactly how we looked at the season, and it's about every performance being an opportunity to be our best."
That quote above from Bundy came after his USL side had clinched a playoff berth. Now look at his quote after his Dynamo 2 captured a playoff berth Saturday night.
“They've created a culture of wanting to win games – no matter what. It hasn't been perfect throughout the season. We've been up a goal with five minutes left in the game and conceded, we've lost the game that way, we tied games that way. What they've done is they've learned. You can see when there's five minutes of extra time, no one panics. Then the referee adds three more minutes because of substitutions. There was no panic, there was no arguing, it was get on with the business. To me the culture that they've created to do that is something special, that they believe in that, and there's a lot of things that we can always fix as coaches, right as a staff. We can sit here and say oh, we could do this better. We could do this better. Trying to teach mentality and trying to teach that togetherness and that willing to win is something that's very difficult. The fact that they buy into that and they lead each other through that is really special.”
This is a coach who knows how to get the best out of his players. At Brazos, 17 different players found the back of the net that season including now Dynamo 2 forward Kyle Edwards. The forward scored 12 of the teams' 46 goals. This season Edwards is second on the team in 2022 with five goals and two assists in 11 appearances. The team itself has 36 goals in 22 games. On the defensive side at Brazos his team had seven clean sheets in 12 tries. On Saturday night, the Dynamo 2 recorded their 10th clean sheet giving Bundy's teams 17 clean sheets in 34 matches. Wouldn't the Dynamo like to have that?
There is no doubt that there are flashier, even more well known names out there but make no mistake one of the brightest, youngest, and best is right here in Houston in 41 year old Kenny Bundy.