Anticipating the Inevitable: Columbus Coaching Search

While most Crew fans were holding their breath, it was fairly obvious, given Sigi Schmid’s remarks about returning to the west coast and his work in Columbus culminating in a rare double for the Crew, that Sigi would be heading to Seattle.  Schmid had little left to accomplish in Columbus after a remarkable turnaround job, and he had been across the country from his family, who lives in California, for 3 years.

Unpredictable as ever, it seems most likely that Crew General Manager Mark McCullers will tap former Crew midfielder and longtime Assistant Coach Robert Warzycha to be the new head man.  In fact, he’s gone out and said that Warzycha is the front runner.  It’s rarely a good idea in any sport to hire the loyal longtime assistant, but Warzycha will maintain stability on a team that may not lose very much going into next season, and will need to continue some of its 2008 momentum into next season if it hopes to make any noise in the Champions League or MLS next year.

Just a few names to throw out there as other possible candidates.  I think all should be considered longshots though; it is pretty obvious that Warzycha is well-liked in the organization, as he managed to survive the Andrulis-Schmid switch.

Sasho Cirovski, Head Coach, University of Maryland– Cirovski’s teams have only missed 2 NCAA Tournaments in his 17 years at Hartford and Maryland.  He coached Crew striker Jason Garey, as well as Maurice Edu and heads the NCSAA Committee, in charge of advancing the profile of college soccer in the United States.  2005 Coach of the Year, 2005 National Champion, and 4-time NCAA Semifinalist

Jay Vidovich, Head Coach, Wake Forest University- Vidovich was the 2007 Coach of the Year after guiding his Demon Deacons a National Championship.  He has coached in Winstom-Salem for 15 years, tutoring current Crew players DM Brian Carroll and GK Will Hesmer, as well as recent MLS to Europe mover, US National D Michael Parkhurst.  Vidovich is a Michigan native and graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, near Columbus.

Colin Clarke, Manager, Puerto Rico Islanders– The ex-Northern Ireland international and English professional manages both the Islanders and the Puerto Rico National Team.  Clarke led the Islanders to the USL finals in only his second year, turning around a team that had never finished higher than sixth and leading them to a regular season title.  Furthermore, Clarke has Champions League experience, as his Islanders are still in the hunt as quarterfinalists.  Clarke also has MLS experience, managing FC Dallas in 2005 and 2006 and winning a Western Conference regular season title in 2006.

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