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Has Stuart Campbell done enough to return as coach of the Rowdies?

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They still have a pulse. When you are evaluating the job done by Rowdies’ coach Stuart Campbell, you might as well start there.

All things are still possible. The title can still be won. The Rowdes can still pass around a trophy.

After the chaotic season that the Rowdies have endured, that seems like a small victory. But has Campbell done enough to save his job? That remains to be seen.

Rowdies’ owner Bill Edwards has made no secret of his hunger for excellence. It was one of the reasons that he fired coach Thomas Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi in the middle of the season. And while there was a extra passion that came out under Campbell as his team fought to get back in the race, no one knows if he is what Edwards will desire with a full off-season to evaluate.

So far, Campbell is 3-4-4 in his 11 games with the season final coming up in New York this weekend against the Cosmos. And if Campbell does lead his team into the playoffs after its 2-5-1 start in the Fall Season, it might be hard to start over. Campbell seems popular with his players, and he has re-instilled self-belief. He has melded newcomers such as Freddie Adu and Long Tam. A victory over the Cosmos would give him a .500 record on the season, which isn’t bad when you consider the way the Rowdies were playing when he took over..

If the Rowdies fail to qualify, however, who knows what Edwards’ long-term plans would be?

For the Rowdies to qualify, they merely have to win the weekend from Fort Lauderdale, which trails Tampa Bay by one point for the final playoff berth. The Strikers visit Jacksonville on Sunday in their finale.

It is impossible to know what the future holds for the Rowdies or for Campbell. A bit of advice, however.

He’s a better bet if he can win.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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