Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
After spending the last 18 years with the Columbus Crew as a player, assistant coach, and head coach, Robert Warzycha has spent his last day with the club.
The Crew announced on Monday morning that they have parted ways with Warzycha, while making technical director Brian Bliss the interim head coach. The club also announced that assistant coaches Ricardo Iribarren and Vojislav Stanisic were relieved of their duties.
“Following a thorough evaluation of the club with (owner) Anthony [Precourt], we determined that Robert’s contract would not be extended beyond 2013,” Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said in a statement on the club’s website. “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.”
Warzycha’s mid-season dismissal ends a six-year run as head coach of the Crew, where he he accrued a 70-59-41 regular season record. The 70 wins is tied for the most by a Crew coach. The former midfielder has watched his team struggle this season, as injuries have shown the club’s lack of depth in a season where the team currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 8-13-5.
The man taking Warzycha’s place, Bliss, is a former U.S. Men’s International defender from 1984-1995, and played in the Crew’s first two seasons in 1996 and 1997 before moving on to the New York/New Jersey Metrostars and the Kansas City Wizards.
Bliss is currently in his sixth season at the Crew, working as their first-ever technical director.
McCullers meanwhile said that the front office is already putting together a list of potential candidates for the head coaching job and Bliss will be considered for the full-time position of head coach as well.
“We plan to be very thorough and detailed in our process to find a new head coach,” McCullers said. “Brian deserves the opportunity to be part of that process, and we plan to have a lot of conversations over the course of the next few months.”
The Crew return to action on Wednesday with a game against the Houston Dynamo at Crew Stadium.
What do you think of this news? Do you agree with the decision? Surprised that Warzycha didn’t make it until the end of the season? Who do you see becoming the new Crew head coach?
Share your thoughts below.