SYDNEY, March 10 (Reuters) - Mike Mulvey, the man who tried to turn Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt into a professional soccer player, has been sacked by the Central Coast Mariners after a thumping defeat in the A-League.
The Mariners issued a statement just before 1 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Sunday stating that it “has parted ways with head coach Mike Mulvey, effective immediately”.
The decision came less than two hours after the Mariners were thumped 8-2 by the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League clash in Gosford.
It equalled a record for the highest scoring match in the A-league since its inception in 2005 and the Mariners’ worst defeat. They were also beaten 8-2 by the Newcastle Jets in the final round last season.
Mulvey was appointed ahead of the 2018-19 season after the Mariners finished last in the 10-team league.
They have won one and drawn four of their 21 games this season and are mired at the bottom of the table with seven points. There is no relegation in the league.
The club said they still had not made a decision on Mulvey’s replacement with six games remaining in the A-League’s regular season.
The 56-year-old Mulvey’s pre-season was dominated by the club’s decision to give eight-times Olympic sprint champion Bolt an extended trial as he pursued his ambition to play professional soccer.
Bolt, who retired from athletics after the 2017 world championships in London, had previously trained with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and Norway’s Stromsgodset before moving to Central Coast.
After some stuttering performances, where Bolt himself said he was still struggling to adapt, the 32-year-old was offered a contract by the Mariners last October but only if an external third party would top up the financial terms.
Mulvey said at the time that Bolt would not be in the squad but they were keen for him to remain at the club, playing at a lower level.
Bolt’s management and the Mariners, however, were unable to come to terms on a contract and the club ended the trial in early November.
It is the second time Mulvey has been sacked by an A-League club after he left the Brisbane Roar in 2014, months after he had guided them to a third title.
Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ed Osmond