It wasn't the best kept secret, but at least it's now official. University of Akron head coach Caleb Porter has been named the Portland Timbers' new head coach, effective at the end of the 2012 NCAA season.
Porter has spent the last seven seasons at Akron becoming one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history and leading the Zips to a national championship in 2010. Several of his former players are currently in MLS, including Darlington Nagbe who plays for the Timbers. Porter also served as the head coach of the U.S. U-23 National Team that failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
The 37-year-old Porter will be officially introduced in December after the conclusion of the Akron season.
"Put simply, I believe Caleb Porter is the best young soccer coaching mind in the country," said Timbers Owner and President Merritt Paulson. "He is the right fit for the Timbers on every level. We went through an exhaustive and thorough search over the last couple months where we spoke with some truly excellent candidates, but Caleb quickly emerged as the consensus target. We look forward to 2013 and beyond with Caleb at our helm."
"Caleb is ambitious and one of the most respected coaches in the nation," said Wilkinson. "He has consistently developed and produced talented players who have gone on to excel in MLS. We feel that his mentality, personality, skill set and coaching philosophy are a tremendous fit with the culture of the Timbers organization and we're excited to bring Caleb on as the Timbers head coach."
Porter took over the Zips program in 2006 and has grown it in to one of the best in the country. He has the highest win percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches, with a career mark of 106-17-14 (.825). He earned his 100th career victory last year, reaching that plateau faster than current MLS head coaches Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid.
"I am truly excited and honored to be provided this unique opportunity to coach the Portland Timbers, an organization that in a short-time has established itself as a model franchise in Major League Soccer," said Porter. "I know that Merritt and Gavin are committed to long-term success for the Timbers and come December, I will be completely focused and driven to continue building a professional club in which the Timbers supporters, city and organization will be proud of. In the meantime, out of respect to the Akron program, I will not be commenting further on this matter until after the conclusion of the 2012 college season."
Timbers fans now have five months to now speculate about what changes Porter will bring the Timbers when he takes over at the end of the year.