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Wings set to name new coach

10/6/98   Wings --  LeBaron Hollimon
10/6/98 Wings -- LeBaron Hollimon The Wichita Eagle

The big reveal for Wichita's new indoor soccer team comes tonight, when the franchise introduces its logo, colors and, most importantly, head coach.

LeBaron Hollimon, a former Wichita Wing, said he plans to be on hand for the event that begins at 7 p.m. at Hartman Arena.

"I'm excited to have the Wings back," he said Friday. "I want to hear what's going on."

However, there may be more than simply curiosity enticing Hollimon to attend: The former Wichita Northwest High School soccer star interviewed for the coaching position and impressed general manager John Blazek.

"He's very smooth," Blazek said.

On Friday, Hollimon, an administrator at Mead Middle School, said he had not been offered the position.

"But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want the job," he said.

Blazek said he conducted five interviews and signed the new coach on Thursday. He declined to name the coach before tonight's event, which is open to the public.

Hollimon did not respond to an interview request on Sunday evening.

Several other logical coaching candidates — former Wings players Larry Inlow, Sammy Lane and Kevin Kewley — said they are not taking the position.

The new franchise, which will play in the Major Indoor Soccer League, is clearly embracing the history, memories and fans of the Wings, an indoor soccer team that folded in 2001.

Blazek said that he plans to hold nights honoring former Wings such as Chico Borja, Kewley and Kim Roentved, who coaches the Missouri Comets of the MISL.

"It's unbelievable the amount of interest we've been getting from people," Blazek said. "We've been inundated with phone calls and e-mails, and I think a lot of it is because of nostalgia (for the Wings)."

The new team is expected to begin training camp in early November and open the season in mid-November. Blazek added that rosters will include 17 or 18 players with a salary cap in the neighborhood of $200,000.

The new league will have eight to 10 teams by the time the season starts, Blazek said.