WRALSportsFan

RailHawks founder Economides, coach Schweitzer to leave team

Posted October 7, 2008

Carolina RailHawks founder Chris Economides had his remaining ownership stake in the team bought out on Monday, and he will no longer serve as the USL First Division club's president and general manager.

"It was a mutual, good parting of the ways," said Economides of his split with the team's majority owners, F. Selby Wellman and Brian Wellman, and minority partner Paul Singh. "The franchise is in good hands, and I'm looking at some possibilities at a higher level within soccer. For me to be able to achieve what I'm trying to, it couldn't be done simultaneously."

Also Tuesday, the RailHawks announced coach Scott Schweitzer would not return to the franchise. Schweitzer played at N.C. State.

Economides declined to elaborate on what higher level of soccer he's aspiring to, but he did say he would know more about his next move within two to four weeks.

"We wish nothing but continued success for Chris," Brian Wellman said. "I have no doubt wherever he lands, he'll find success again. There would be no RailHawks without Chris Economides. He's the founder, the reason we exist. For three years, he's dedicated his life and time and positioned this team for success in the future."

Economides founded the RailHawks in early 2006 after a successful stint as an owner and general manager of the Rochester Raging Rhinos, a First Division club he helped launch in 1996. In nine seasons in upstate New York, the Rhinos won three league championships and the 1999 U.S. Open Cup.

The RailHawks had a strong debut season on and off the field in 2007. They finished 8-12-8, qualified for the playoffs with a win in the season's final match, and they made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. They also averaged nearly 5,000 fans a game at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

This season started with even higher expectations, but after a 3-0-4 start, the RailHawks went 6-10-7 the rest of the season, which also featured a nine-match winless streak. In July, the team found itself in last place, the first time in Economides' career one of his teams ever sat at the bottom of the table.

While the team finished just short of the USL-1 playoffs, Economides said the team's on-field struggles had nothing do with his exit.

"That's part of the business," Economides said. "I'm competitive as any body, but I wouldn't say that had anything to do with this. It was just time to look at some other possibilities."

The RailHawks saw their average attendance dip to just more than 4,000 per game in 2008, and Economides' decision to leave the franchise has led to speculation that the organization is on the brink of collapse.

Not so, Economides said.

"I wouldn't read anything more into it," he said. "It was a business partner being bought out. That's it. There's no gloom and doom. It's been [the Wellmans?] capital that kept the franchise going. They've done a tremendous job with the franchise, and I see nothing but positive things ahead for the RailHawks."

3 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • loganwat Oct 7, 2008

    Is that why ESPN is bidding on the English Premier League games for next year? It is the biggest sport in the world and the Triangle. Anybody who thinks different should open the windows in their trailer because you are not getting enough oxygen. :-X

  • Z Man Oct 7, 2008

    News flash... You're in the United States now and 0.00000001% of the people give a darn about soccer. I can't even name that expensive bloke that moved here and got a multi-million job BECAUSE NO ONE CARES!

  • RochesterRedWolf Oct 7, 2008

    what is a railhawk? Is it some mythical flying creature who watches over the railroads, swooping in to avert danger?

  • Premier League Soccer

    Today at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Arizona at Houston

    Tomorrow at 4:00 am on FOX50

  • NFL: San Diego at Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Cincinnati at Jacksonville

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Blitz

    Saturday, Sep. 3 at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Golf Special: Road to the Ryder Cup

    Sunday, Sep. 4 at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Golf: Deutsche Bank Championship

    Sunday, Sep. 4 at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLBL Kansas City at Boston

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

NFL Preseason
Thursday, Aug. 25
Atlanta6Final
Miami17
 
Dallas17Final
Seattle27
Friday, Aug. 26
New England19Final
Carolina17
 
Buffalo16Final
Washington21
 
Pittsburgh27Final
New Orleans14
 
Cleveland13Final
Tampa Bay30
 
Green Bay21Final
San Francisco10
Saturday, Aug. 27
Kansas City 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Chicago 
 
Detroit 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST6:00 CT3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00
Baltimore 
 
Philadelphia 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST6:00 CT3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00
Indianapolis 
 
NY Giants 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST6:30 CT3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET22:30
NY Jets 
 
Tennessee 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST7:00 CT4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00
Oakland 
 
Los Angeles 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST8:00 CT5:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET0:00
Denver 
Sunday, Aug. 28
San Diego 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Minnesota 
 
Arizona 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
Houston 
 
Cincinnati 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST7:00 CT4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00
Jacksonville 
 
ATP Scoreboard
Saturday, Aug. 27
Winston-Salem Open (ATP)
Final
(2) R. Bautista A 
(16) P. Carreno Bu 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Saturday, Aug. 27
Connecticut Open (WTA)
Final
(1) A. Radwanska 
(10) E. Svitolina