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Columbus Crew fire Robert Warzycha, Brian Bliss named interim boss

Sep 2, 2013, 10:43 AM EDT

Newcastle United v Columbus Crew - Pre Season Friendly Getty Images

On Monday morning the Columbus Crew parted ways with manager Robert Warzycha after over five years in charge in Ohio.

Columbus’ poor recent form has seen Warzycha lose his job, with the Crew having a 8-13-5 record and only D.C. United and Chivas USA have lost more games this season in MLS.

New Crew Chairman and Investor-Operator Anthony Precourt hasn’t been in charge for too long before making a massive decision to change the coaching direction of the club.

(MORE: Analysis on Warzycha’s dismissal from Crew Stadium)

In a statement on the clubs website Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers had the following to say.

“Following a thorough evaluation of the club with Anthony [Precourt], we determined that Robert’s contract would not be extended beyond 2013,” McCullers said. “Rather than wait until the end of the season, we felt that the best interests of the club and Robert would be served by making this change now.”

After watching the side closely before the purchase of the Crew, Precourt believes the decision to fire Warzycha is the right decision for the future of the club.

I have been intently following this team since mid-April when we decided to explore the possibility of acquiring the Crew. When I became the club’s new Chairman, I said that I would take the necessary time to be thoughtful and evaluate where we needed to make changes. When we came to the conclusion that we were not going to retain Robert beyond this season, it was apparent that we needed to make this change now so that we can refocus the club around Brian’s leadership for the remainder of this season, as well as get the process started on finding a new head coach.

During Warzycha’s time in charge the Crew won the 2009 Supporters’ Shield, made back-to-back semifinal runs in the CONCACAF Champions League and reached the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

Warzycha’s record of 70-59-41 was tied with Tom Fitzgerald (1996-2001) for the most regular-season wins (70) as a Head Coach of the Crew. After taking over on an interim basis in 2005 following the dismissal of Greg Andrulis, Warzycha was assistant coach as Sigi Schmid led Columbus to a MLS Cup in 2008.

The Crew’s new Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss was respectful of Warzycha’s achievements and promised to help turn things around while he’s at the helm.

“It is with mixed emotions that I accept this position,” Bliss said. “Robert is a true professional and a close friend, and I will personally miss working with him. Sometimes in these situations a fresh perspective and a new voice are needed,” Bliss said. “I’m confident in our players and the talent on our roster. Our fans deserve to see the best out of this team, and I plan to do what’s necessary to make that happen.”

(MORE: MLS Week in Review, Round 27)

So Columbus search for a new head coach begins as they try to rebuild the Ohio club back to its former glories. Can they follow the lead up the Portland Timbers who last year fired John Spencer and handed the reins on an interim basis to Gavin Wilkinson.

That gave Portland time to find the right man in Caleb Porter and Columbus should take all the time they can to try and fine the perfect replacement to Warzycha.

Who should take charge?

  1. ndnut - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Paging tylerbetts for his opinion, paging tylerbetts.

  2. tylerbetts - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    And here I thought it was Labor Day, not Christmas.

    Glad to see him gone. A bit surprising to see it happen now, and not at season end, with this being the last year of his contract. The team has gotten progressively worse EVERY year under Warzycha. On-field and in team-building (finding the amazing Higuain, not withstanding). Nice to see Precourt is being serious about on-field results and holding folks accountable.

    Wynalda would be a great choice to replace. Schelotto would be amazing, from a fan perspective. Not sure if he’d be the right tactical fit, but if you want to get the fan base excited, there’s probably no better hire (unless you think you can talk Bob Bradley into walking away from Egypt). And, if DCU is dumb enough to sack Olsen, I’d welcome him in less than half a heartbeat.

    That said … Warzyhca has plenty of value he can offer a team. He’s smart. He’s got a good pedigree for MLS. He’s just not cut out to be “the man”. I wish him luck in finding a good assistant role somewhere (Seattle … just saying … you could do a lot worse than letting this man work with Sigi again).

    • mdac1012 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      The one thing about letting your manger go before the end of the season is it more freely allows you to start the ground work to find a replacement. When you start making inquiries about a new manager with the current guy still there it can potentially make for a bad and embarresing situation, especially for the current coach.

      It also allows for those who may be interested in the position to start sending out feelers to the team. How would you feel about a Tony Pulis? His son plays in the US and he knows the league pretty well.

  3. hildezero - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I think with this new ownership, we still have a lot to see. They said they’ll change the crest, they fire their coach, and now I think the stadium might get an uplift.

  4. talgrath - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I can’t claim to closely follow the Crew, but in Saturday’s match against the Sounders the crew looked lifeless and listless for most of the match, and they were up a man nearly the entire game. The Crew didn’t really start getting good chances until about the last half hour of the match, when the Sounders players were likely quite tired from covering for the man advantage Columbus had.

    • nussdorferac - Sep 3, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Losing at home to a team playing a man down for 80 minutes is inexcusable.

      • talgrath - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        I couldn’t agree more.

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