When the Columbus Crew introduced their new owner, Anthony Precourt, one of the things he promised fans was a thorough look at team operations – you know, the performance of everyone from coaches down to players. Or at least that’s how I took it. And I rejoiced in it. I think one of the things that made me excited about Precourt was his promise of change. I figured it would be a bit before those changes got into full swing. But this morning, I was waken by news of the first big change.
Early Monday morning, the Crew announced the team would part ways with Head Coach Robert Warzycha and technical director Brian Bliss would be interim coach until a new head coach was found. The collective cheers from Crew fans could probably be heard all over. I know I sighed in relief.
This is a change that, in my opinion, has been long over due. About three seasons really.
“I have been intently following this team since mid-April when we decided to explore the possibility of acquiring the Crew,” said Crew Chairman and Investor-Operator Anthony Precourt. “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.”
I figured it would probably take a new owner before we would get Warzycha out. And while the front office of the Crew are rightly giving “thanks” to Warzycha for his service to the team as a player turned coach, I don’t think I can lay down the praise that thick. I do think he accomplished many things for the team and that’s all well and great, but the last three seasons, I’ve seen such a back hill slide, that I’ve been eager to see the change.
And finally, the owners and management of the Crew see the same.
Now, Bliss is not someone I like too much either, so here is where Precourt and the rest of the management could flub up for me. Not all the time, but sometimes clubs will just make their interim coaches their new head coaches. If Bliss becomes head coach for the long haul, I don’t think that is something I can stomach. But that is my personal opinion.
Lots of fans are calling for our long lost hero Guillermo Barros Schelotto to be Warzycha’s replacement. That’s a decision that could have potential. Really, I have no clue who I would like to see heading up the Crew. Right now I’m just thankful the change really has been made and I’m putting my trust in Precourt and Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers to make the right decision. Looking at points and the way the season has been going, this could be a year the team doesn’t make the playoffs and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Precourt posted on twitter earlier “I promised to be thorough, and that applies to our head coaching search, which starts now.” I retweeted the message and added “Thank you,” because I honestly mean that. No matter who comes in next (unless it’s Bliss), if Precourt and company have taken the time and are thorough in their job, it’ll be progress for the Crew.
The fans are sick and tired of the status quo and “sticking to our guns,” even if those “guns” aren’t firing like they used to. Precourt’s new ownership was supposed to be the start and Warzycha’s replacement could be what gets this team back to winning ways.