Richard Nightingale to Head Riverhounds & Highmark Stadium; Mark Steffens Named Head Coach
PITTSBURGH, PA - The Pittsburgh Riverhounds Professional Soccer Club announced today the hiring of a president and head coach.
Richard Nightingale, whose background includes brand and commercial leadership in the sports industry, will begin his role as president immediately. He will oversee operations of both the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Highmark Stadium.
"I look forward to the opportunity of helping the Pittsburgh Riverhounds get to the next level of success. Tremendous work has gone into getting the team where they are now, in one of the best soccer stadiums in the country, and now we're ready to move forward. We are assembling a strong team both in the front office and on the field," said Nightingale.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds also announced the hiring of Mark Steffens as head coach. Steffens has 18 years of coaching experience in the USL Pro, having won two championships with the Charlotte Eagles.
Also announced today was the promotion of Pittsburgh Riverhounds' defender Niko Katic, who served as interim head coach of the pro team in 2014. Katic will serve as assistant coach on the pro team this coming 2015 season. He will also remain as a youth coach in the Riverhounds Academy.
In addition to the hires, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds also announced a stronger partnership with Allegheny Health Network (AHN).
Allegheny Health Network, under the leadership of Patrick DeMeo, MD, Chair of the AHN Orthopedic Institute and Director of the Network's Division of Sports Medicine, has long-served as the official medical provider of the Riverhounds.
The enhanced partnership will provide Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer players and elite youth players involved in the club's academy with continuing access to Allegheny Health Network's nationally recognized sports medicine services, while also adding new, advanced training and educational programs to further promote fitness, injury prevention and concussion awareness for athletes.
Nightingale remarked, "This is a tremendous advantage to our pro players and Academy to have AHN on board as a partner."
Tuffy Shallenberger, owner
Tuffy Shallenberger is president and owner of several companies based out of Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Established in 1971 as a general contractor and project management company, Shallenberger Construction, Inc. has since grown to include multiple affiliate companies, playing an integral role in the Marcellus shale play in southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition to being president and owner of Shallenberger Construction, Tuffy also serves in both capacities with affiliate companies Appalachian Water Services, LLC; Shallenberger Trucking, LLC; Shallenberger Rentals, LLC; and Fayette Coal & Coke, Inc. Tuffy recently expanded his business interests, becoming owner of both the Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team and Highmark Stadium, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Committed to his hometown of Connellsville, Tuffy recently built and donated a youth soccer sports complex in Bullskin Township for the area youth. He also built an indoor soccer complex, which now houses the Connellsville division of the Riverhounds Academy. Tuffy also donated a large model train display and built a building to house the display to increase tourism in Connellsville. In addition, he is working to restore the city's signature Aaron's Building.
Richard Nightingale, president
Richard Nightingale, an avid sports enthusiast, left his native England to play soccer in the United States during his university years. Richard has since earned a global reputation for providing trusted commercial leadership across multinational sports brands and categories, and he is an expert in brand and commercial leadership in the sports industry. His latest venture brings him to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he will serve as president for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Highmark Stadium, overseeing both operations. A calculated risk taker, Richard has learned when to push the envelope to discover profitable hidden opportunities and emerging market trends that gain the upper advantage against competitors. As part of his background, Richard has generated $250 million in strong international commercial sales that leverages portfolio strength, aligns regional needs and global strategy through matrixed management, and achieves demonstrable, rapid-fire profitable growth. As a best-practice driver, he champions global brand / category direction through activation of regional and/or global commercial directors as commercial management advocates. His success in identifying sales and distribution opportunities has helped capture lucrative commercial targets for brands and leading sports retailers alike. Richard was the featured speaker at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, UK, in 2014 and gave the keynote address at the United Soccer League annual convention in Tampa, Fla., in 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Portland.
Mark Steffens, head coach
As head coach, Mark Steffens brings 18 years of USL Pro coaching experience to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. A proven winner on the field, Mark has made it into the playoffs 14 times during his 18 years in the league, and has advanced to the finals nine times. He holds two championship wins and was named the USL Coach of the Year twice, once in 2004 and again in 2008. He also holds the honor of being a USL Hall of Fame inductee. Mark's coaching philosophy is simple, yet effective and profound. He makes it a priority to ensure every player on his team feels highly valued, and he has a reputation across the league of being a leader who can build tremendous unity and chemistry amongst players on his team. Mark has consistently put a winning team on the pitch despite having the lowest player payroll in the league, and he credits that to the team-first attitude he instills in all his players. Mark and his wife, Diane, have three daughters and nine grandchildren.
Niko Katic, assistant coach
A fan favorite, Niko Katic has been with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds organization since 2009 when he made his professional debut as a defender in a 3-1 win over the Wilmington Hammerheads. He made his move from pro player to coach last season when he served as interim head coach for the club. Niko's leadership on the pitch allowed the team to win eight of its last 13 games to get within a point of a place in the playoffs with three games remaining. While the Riverhounds ended up falling short of a playoff run in 2014, Niko's tremendous efforts to turn the club around did not go unnoticed. Niko is also a proven youth coach, working with the Riverhounds Academy and RDA teams. Niko will continue to coach in the Riverhounds youth program, in addition to serving as the new assistant coach on the pro team. Niko is anxious to begin working with Coach Mark Steffens and believes a championship win is within reach for the club.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from December 17, 2014
- Richard Nightingale to Head Riverhounds & Highmark Stadium; Mark Steffens Named Head Coach - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Islanders Announce Pro Team Tryout January 14 & 15 - Penn FC
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