Jay Heaps had never been a head coach before being hired by the Revolution before the 2012 season. But Heaps proved himself in his first three seasons, convincing the team to sign him to a second long-term contract.
The contract extension was finalized soon after the Revolution reached the MLS Cup in December, according to multiple sources. Revolution team policy prevents the announcing of contract signings of coaches, and team officials would not comment on Heaps’s renewal.
Heaps, 39, succeeded Steve Nicol after the Revolution finished in 17th place in the overall MLS standings with a 5-16-13 record in 2011. In Heaps’s first season, the Revolution finished in 16th place with a 9-17-8 record. In 2013, the Revolution went 14-11-9, reaching the playoffs.
Last year Heaps guided the Revolution to the final (2-1 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy), spurred by the August arrival of Jermaine Jones.
Currently the Revolution are 8-9-7, tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Contract terms were not revealed when Heaps was named Revolution coach in November 2011. The new contract likely will keep him with the Revolution at least through the 2017 season.
Heaps’s signing signals stability for the Revolution, who have made two coaching changes since 1999. Heaps is the sixth coach in the Revolution’s 20-year history. They went through four coaches (Frank Stapleton, Thomas Rongen, Walter Zenga, and Nicol) in their first four seasons.
Fernando Clavijo became the first to coach the team for more than two full years before being replaced early in the 2002 season by Nicol, who had been hired on an interim basis for two games in 1999. Nicol led the Revolution to four MLS Cup final appearances from 2002-11.
Assistant coaches Remi Roy and Tom Soehn also agreed to multiyear pacts, but the Revolution still lag behind teams such as the Galaxy, who list five assistant coaches.
When Heaps concluded his playing career in 2009, he was the Revolution’s leader in appearances in all competitions (294). That mark was surpassed by Shalrie Joseph, who played 305 games for the Revolution before retiring after last season.
Heaps played basketball and soccer at Longmeadow High School and Duke University, where he was a member of NCAA Final Four teams in both sports.
In 1999, Heaps joined the Miami Fusion, and in 2001 was traded to the Revolution for defender Brian Dunseth. With the Revolution, Heaps won the US Open Cup in 2007 and the North American SuperLiga in 2008. He also was a starter in four MLS Cup final matches and earned four caps playing for the US national team.