Crew part ways with Warzycha, name Bliss as interim head coach

Robert Warzycha

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.

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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.

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24 Responses to Crew part ways with Warzycha, name Bliss as interim head coach

  1. SoundersOff says:

    Oduro got another coach fired. Solid. GMs bring him in for being so incredibly fast and then blame the coaches because he can’t water falling out of a boat.

    Sometimes it’s hilarious to see the cause-effect of these transfers, like the NY Jets GM and Owner telling Rex Ryan that Tim Tebow was being signed whether he liked it or not and then Ryan takes the heat when everything goes down.

    How many more games would the Crew have won if Oduro could hit an empty net? Watched him play in Chicago often and he would get in great positions and never deliver.

    • Adam says:

      If you think Oduro is the only problem the Crew have then you haven’t watched them that much…

      • SilverRey says:

        Honestly, I don’t know what you guys were feeding Oduro in Chicago – whatever it was I agree wholeheartedly that he was VERY frustrating to watch there.

        Here is C-Bus, we have figured it out. Just give him Papa John’s and he’ll score in bunches!

        Oh yeah, and his one season here wasn’t the reason for RW’s incompetence since 2008.

    • Matt B. says:

      Oduro has as many goals as the Crew’s DP, Higuain

    • Stan says:

      Oduro has been a plus for the Crew. Biggest problem has been the owners and GM not keeping up with the rest of the league in bringing in quality players. However Warzycha has contributed. He does not do much tactically, plays favorites, subs poorly, has been a problem with conditioning and alientates players, particularly young ones but also veterans, with his icy personality. This year’s team has underachieved due to lack of quality finishers and defensive breakdowns, and some injuries. The team playing now has maybe 5-6 veterans and the rest reserves.

  2. BSU SC says:

    After new ownership arrived in Columbus, it was only a matter of time until this happened. Will this be the time for Richie Williams to finally get a head coaching gig in MLS?

  3. JohnBrown says:

    Who has been making the player personnel decision though? Warzycha has won some silverware. The roster at his disposal hasn’t been the best. Hopefully, they’ll replace Bliss as well. He seemed to be more of the problem if he was making the final roster decisions. If those choices rested with Warzycha then maybe I can agree.

    • Paul says:

      I quickly did a google search, and found an article from January of 2008 when Bliss was named technical director for the Crew. Sigi Schmid was the coach at the time. It doesn’t answer your question, but I think it does suggest that its likely that Bliss has had a material influence on personnel decisions at the Crew.

    • sony says:

      don’t worry they will!

    • SilverRey says:

      Bliss is one of the bright spots in the FO. I think he has done tons without anything to work with – the Hunt’s had starved the Crew for a long time now.

      Here’s to new ownership and a lot of changes in the right direction!

  4. Cairo says:

    Good move. I think Warzycha is a good coach, but it’s time to hit the refresh button in Columbus. The above comment about Oduro being to blame is so silly. He’s not a great finisher, but I will take that guy on my team anytime. Does the writer not realize what kind of space having an Oduro opens up for everyone else on the team? AND he has 9 goals. Sigh…
    We’re all hoping (and I am not a Crew fan) that Schelotto comes in–it’s a best case scenario for the team and the league, and would only increase MLS as an appealing option for Argentinian players, who make up a large portion of the league’s best playmakers (Morales, Higuain, Rosales, Valeri, etc…). Now the Crew just need some re-branding and some kind of refresh on their stadium. The league is better when Columbus is better…

  5. ShearerForever says:

    When your top option off the bench is your own son–who I’d like to think has a future in the league (big, strong kid–successful at college level but cut by KC last year)–that seems to indicate a real problem.

  6. Brant says:

    The Crew have lost, over the past 5 years,
    – GBS
    – Ekpo (Olympic silver medalist)
    – Carroll (currently Philly’s captain)
    – A. Moreno (one of MLS’s most under-rated forwards)
    – Brunner (defensive stalwart in Portland)
    – R. Rogers (better winger than anyone on the roster right now)
    – Leinhart
    – Gaven (injury)
    – G. Padula (Crew lost, what, 4 games in 3 years with him on the field)
    – J. James (cut, but is he really worse than any other defender on the roster?)

    seriously… they’ve been replaced with what Bernardo Anor? Justin Meram striking fear into the hearts of opposing coaches?

    The problem is the Crew have been bleeding talent since the ’08 team won the title. They’ve been raped by the expansion drafts for Philly, Portland, and Vancouver, and the guys brought in to replace what was lost have been crap. A coach can mold crap into better-looking crap, but it’s still crap.

  7. Gary Page says:

    Hadn’t know that Warzycha had been with the Crew that long. Do they have a pension plan?

  8. edblackadder says:

    It was a necessity to let RW go.

    I don’t think the Crew roster is that bad. We’re definitely underachieving at the moment.

    Oduro is not the problem, he’s been a good pickup. He doesn’t have the best decision-making and his finishing is average, but the guy has played almost every minute and has scored 9 goals. If you rely on him for goals you’ll be disappointed, but if you use his speed to stretch the defense for other players he’s very useful.

  9. Smith says:

    This should get the Crew back on the road to Massiveness!

  10. El Paso tx says:

    Columbus crew and chivas USA are not far apart, even New England revolution as well. With the league hitting 20 teams in 2015, teams now have to take action and luckily there is west and east conferences. For instance, the west has become a very competitive conference with galaxy,rsl,sounders, timbers, whitecaps and fc Dallas. As for the east, it’s weak and open to any team every season. Philly didn’t take advantage of the east and hasn’t, but if Columbus follows Kansas City path to rebrand, then Columbus can easily be a top dog in the east. Even more, Toronto needs another year to ge it together, dc is in love with young players and wont spend money,Philly same as dc, fire need an awakening, NE need a new owner so in reality if Columbus get it together, they will be against impact,red bull and skc. Now if they make a new stadium and rebrand,n there fans will wake up and rejuvenate the team.

  11. Enos says:

    DC United, you’re next!

  12. automata says:

    I have some great on-field memories of the Polish Rifle and there is no question of his loyalty to The Crew, but Stan is correct. Warzycha was stubborn as a coach and completely alienated players. Many of our best players absolutely hated him and were left with no choice but to leave town or not play. Schelotto, Padula, Hesmer, Rogers, Lenhart, many of the core of the Championship season, voiced their displeasure about him around town, and it was never just a passing affair or two week spat. If the Hunt’s had not been working on the sale, this may have happened much sooner. It was time.