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BY MIKE GRIFFITH, Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a job Marty Raymond didn't even apply for and, in the end, an offer he could not refuse.
Thus, the Bakersfield Condors are seeking a new head coach for the first time since Raymond took the helm late in the 2003-2004 season and Raymond will be heading to Zagreb, Croatia as coach for the KHL Medvescak Bears who play in the Austrian Elite League.
"I didn't even apply for the job, they came to me," said Raymond. "Some guys (including Ryan Kinasewich who played in Utah in 2009-10 before heading to Croatia this season), put my name in."
Raymond turned down the first offer but when the team sweetened the pot, he talked it over with his wife, and the decision was made.
"The (first offer) was OK but not worth disrupting the family," he said. "The counter offer was a no brainer."
Thus Raymond found himself in the position many an ECHL player has been in: lured to Europe due to the opportunity to make more money.
"Like any other human being you have to do what's best for your family and if I can put money aside for my kids, I have three now, I think it's important to do that and not be selfish. It's a good platform for me as well."
Raymond agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Condors on May 10 but team president Matthew Riley said Raymond kept him in the loop as to the possibility of taking a job in Europe.
"We're thrilled for Marty," Riley said. "He got an offer he couldn't refuse. They're kind of on a different level over there as far as revenues and what they can afford to pay. We wish he was still our coach, obviously. We wanted him to be back next year but great for him."
Riley said the organization has already received numerous inquires as to the vacant coaching position and will fill the position as quickly as possible.
"We have a list of names from Marty and folks we know and are familiar with," he said. "And today we had plenty of phone calls, e-mails and messages from coaches looking for a job. There's no shortage of candidates."
Riley said that John Olver, who the Condors recently signed as assistant to the head coach and Director of Player Personnel, is among the names on a now growing list.
"J.O would be the first guy that would come to your mind," Riley said. "We'll talk to him and see where that goes. It will be a matter of getting to a short list and fine tuning it.""
Under the current deal with the Condors, Olver, who coaches a junior team in Boise, Ida., was going to assist Raymond specifically in the areas of recruiting and scouting at the pro and amateur levels.
Raymond, 265-200-56 at the helm of the Condors, guided the Condors to back-to-back ECHL Pacific Division championships and will certainly face a challenge in the Austrian Elite League. Zagreb placed eighth in the 10-team league last season and is 48-47-13 over its first two seasons in Austria's top league.
"They want to be successful and I like that," he said. "I hate to go but its time for me to go and try something else. I realized it's now or never."
Raymond and his wife, Jessica, own a home in Bakersfield and don't plan on renting or selling. Raymond will leave for Croatia in mid July and his wife and two young children (Paxton and Anna) will most likely head over for a few months in September.
"I have a two or three-year window (to coach in Europe)," he said. "Paxton turns four on Dec. 25 and (Jessica) said when he starts school it will be in North America.
"I hate to go but this is a step up," he said. "The top six guys are all AHL-caliber players. "It was a tough decision and I want to leave this team in good hands. I want to make sure the Bakersfield Condors are successful. I'll be back in March to watch some games."