On this day in LA Galaxy history: Bruce Arena hired as head coach and general manager in 2008

18 August 4:02 pm

On this day in LA Galaxy history: Bruce Arena hired as head coach and general manager in 2008

By Adam Serrano

On this day in LA Galaxy history just six years ago, Bruce Arena was hired to be the Galaxy's head coach and general manager, forever changing the club's history. 

The now 62-year-old Arena was hired amid a tumultuous 2008 campaign for the manager and his current team as the Galaxy as the team limped out of the gate with a 6-8-6 record under Ruud Guillit and interim head coach Cobi Jones before the former U.S national team head coach took the reins. Immediately after taking the helm, Arena's Galaxy went 8-13-9 to finish second to last in the Western Conference, but the club reached the Superliga final before falling to Mexican side Pachuca in penalties. 

By the 2009 campaign, Arena had reshaped the Galaxy by drafting Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza and acquiring goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who all helped lead the team to the MLS Cup final where they fell in penalties to Real Salt Lake. For Arena's role in reshaping the Galaxy from laughingstock to MLS Cup contender, the LA boss was awarded the MLS Coach of the Year Award.  

Since that 2009 season, the Galaxy have won two MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields and reached the Western Conference Final each year except two with Arena at the helm. During his time with the Galaxy, Arena has gone 91-51-51 in regular season play and 13-4-2 in the postseason as well as 2-1 in MLS Cup matches. 

Arena's success with the Galaxy has helped bolster the legacy of a head coach that is already widely considered the best American coach ever. Overall, Arena has a 60 percent winning percentage in 331 games coached which is the highest winning percentage among coaches with 50 or more games coached. The Galaxy boss' 72.5 percent winning percentage in the postseason is also a league record.

In terms of total regular season wins, Arena is second in MLS history with 168 victories which is behind only Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. But despite being second in regular season victories, Arena is first all-time in playoff victories which 27 which is four better than Schmid's mark.

Interesting side note, Arena is fourth in all-time career winning percentage among MLS head coaches to have ever coached in the league. Tied for first is former Galaxy assistant Ralph Perez who won his only game as a head coach when Los Angeles defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in June 1999.