Utah Royals Fire Coach Craig Harrington

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The Utah Royals have fired first-year head coach Craig Harrington, the team announced on Monday.

The Royals placed Harrington and assistant Louis Lancaster on leaves of absence on Sept. 20 before the team's opening game of the National Women Soccer League Fall Series against Portland. Utah did not provide a reason for placing them on leave. 

The Royals said on Monday that assistant Amy LePeilbet will continue to serve as interim head coach. Lancaster will remain with the team.

"As Coach LePeilbet has already demonstrated, she is well-positioned to serve in this interim role and embodies the Club's dedication to the highest standards of conduct, civility, and professionalism," the Royals said in a statement.

The moves come amid organizational turmoil as owner Dell Loy Hansen is in the process of selling his Utah Soccer Holdings. He was forced to step aside after he made controversial remarks about Real Salt Lake's decision not to play a match on Aug. 26. Players from the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB all decided not to play that day to protest racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Shortly thereafter allegations surfaced that Hansen had used a racist slur in the past and made other racially charged comments.

The Royals hired Harrington on Feb. 7 to replace Laura Harvey, who left to coach the U.S. under-20 women's national team. Harrington served as an assistant with the Chicago Red Stars for two years before coming to Utah.

The Royals went 0-2-2 in four fall games.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.