Veteran Spanish soccer coach Manuel Preciado died of a heart attack one day after agreeing to take the reins at Villarreal CF. He was 54.

Police and paramedics summoned late Wednesday night to a seaside residence in the Mediterranean coastal town of Sueca found Preciado unconscious and not breathing and were unable to resuscitate him, Mayor Salvador Campillo told Efe.

The body was taken to the medical examiner's office in the nearby city of Valencia, where Villarreal President Fernando Roig and other club executives were due to arrive later Thursday.

Recently relegated to the second division, Villarreal announced Wednesday that it had signed Preciado, who was fired by Sporting de Gijon about halfway through last season after more than five years with the club.

Preciado played for Racing de Santander, Mallorca, Alaves, Ourense, Linares and Gimnastic de Torrelavega before entering the coaching ranks in 1995.

He led Sporting de Gijon back to the first division in 2007-2008 after a decade's absence and was the club's second-longest-serving manager.

Preciado earned a reputation as one of Spain's most accessible and affable coaches and was well-liked by fans in Gijon. EFE