Coach Calloway given three-year deal with Rhinos

In a move that has been expected, the Rhinos re-signed head coach Laurie Calloway to a three year extension on Monday. The new contract will run through the 2009 season.

In his two years in Rochester, Calloway has led the Rhinos to their first USL 1st Division title game since 2001 and has guided the team to back to back second place finishes in the league during the regular season. Calloway has also guided the team to a 1-0-2 record versus MLS teams in the US Open Cup. Unfortunately, his teams have been eliminated in PKs versus the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution in each of the past two seasons.

With Calloway finally under contract, the Rhinos can now focus on tweaking the roster. With news that defenders Scott Palguta and Frankie Sanfilippo are weighing other options, the possibility that Nate Craft could be the lone Rhinos starting defender from the USL final to return in 2007 is getting better. Many believe it is a foregone conclusion that Rhinos Rookie of the Year and USL 1st Division All-League 2nd Team defender Kenney Bertz will be playing in MLS in 2007. Add in Ricky Lewis not coming back and the Rhinos being uncertain whether they want to bring Kevin Taylor back, Craft and veteran Tenywa "T-Bone" Bonseu are the only defenders who appear to be locks to be back in 2007.

If that happens, the Rhinos front office will have their work cut out for them yet again. Last offseason they got lucky that Bertz was cut by DC United and practically fell in the Rhinos' laps. Can the Rhinos duplicate that success again this offseason?

And then there is the huge questions revolving around the Rhinos midfield and forwards for next season. Consistent offense was lacking for much of the season as the Rhinos failed to control play in the midfield and provide the quality of service that the forwards expected. And then you had forwards who had issues finishing the chances that they did get. Add in the lack of a deadly taker of free kicks and corners, and the offense also needs to be improved this offseason.

The offseason is officially underway with the first signing by the Rhinos. Hopefully the team's front office is as aggressive in the offseason as fans hoped the team would be during the season.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or Feel free to send any comments or complaints to James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.