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October 6, 2014 at 3:12 PM

John Best, first coach of the Sounders, dies at 74

John Best, the first coach of the original Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League (NASL), died Sunday night at the age of 74 from a lung infection while visiting family in Ireland.

Best had battled with kidney disease for more than two decades, surviving three transplants.

His Sounders went 43-26 in his first three seasons with the club from 1974 to 1976, and he helped both facilitate and oversee the move from Memorial Stadium to the Kingdome for the ’76 season.

After leaving the Sounders, Best became the general manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps and helped lead the club to its 1979 NASL championship. He returned to Seattle in the same position in 1982 as the team finished runner-up to the New York Cosmos, and later was part of the ownership group for the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL).

Best is remembered most fondly by Sounder players and management from that era as the charismatic man who helped build initial bonds between the fans and club.

“The basics were to play for the fans and form a link,” said Dave Gillett, one of the original Sounders.“”… That’s what John envisioned 40 years ago. You could build a club with tradition and history and one that made the fans a part of the team.””

More details to follow.

| More in MLS, Sounders U-23

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