With the dismissal of Greg Andrulis now in the past, the Columbus Crew must now find a head coach that can get the franchise turned around.
"A national and international search will commence to identify the fourth head coach in Crew history. There is no set time frame in identifying the permanent head coach," club general manager Mark McCullers said. "It is an important decision for the organization and we will take as much time as necessary to make the best selection to fit our needs."
As of Wednesday, no formal contacts had been made according to McCullers. It is unclear what length of time the Crew are to be left under the control of interim head coach Robert Warzycha.
"The news was sad because of the friendship with Greg," said Warzycha. "I have big shoes to fill."
The former Crew great could coach the rest of the season with the interim label. According to McCullers, he is also under consideration for the permanent job and currently in full control of the team.
"I have given Robert absolute autonomy and authority to do what he thinks is necessary to impact the performance of this team," said McCullers.
With Warzycha accepting more responsibilities for at least the time being, the Crew's assistant coaches -- Mike Lapper, Eddie Carvacho and Ross Paule -- will also have more duties.
"In that regard, all of our assistant coaches will have to step up. There will be some reorganization assignments and tasks," said McCullers. "That is something that is taking place as we speak."
Paule has been helping out as an assistant since his season-ending concussion.
The Crew have never hired a coach from outside its own staff. Andrulis replaced Tom Fitzgerald during the 2001 season. Fitzgerald took over after Timo Liekoski was fired during the inaugural season.
Both Fitzgerald and Andrulis had most of their experience at the collegiate level, and McCullers would like to find someone with more professional experience.
"The prototypical coach is one that is going to win. I don't mean to be flippant when I say that, but we are looking that would ideally have experience that the professional level, somebody that has experience or understands the MLS system, somebody who is a proven winner or led a proven winning system, somebody who is an excellent communicator and motivator, and someone who experience developing young talent," said McCullers.
"We are looking at someone who plays a particular style of soccer. We want an aggressive type of attacking soccer and an aggressive type of defensive style that creates that."
Warzycha has his first chance to show Crew management his capabilities in Saturday's match against the first-place Chicago Fire.
"It is a very difficult game," said the former Polish international. "I do not have many good memories in Chicago, but what would be better than beating one of the better teams in the league."
One of his first choices will be to determine who will replace central defender Robin Fraser. Fraser is suspended for the match due to the accumulation of caution points.
"There are not a lot of choices. We will put the best team on the field as we can," said the new boss.
The Crew will likely return to the 3-4-3 formation used last weekend with Chris Wingert as the central defender, with Chad Marshall and Mark Schulte on his left and right sides, respectively. When Fraser was injured earlier in the season, Wingert also moved into the position. Additionally, the midfield will be bolstered as Kyle Martino returns from a one-game suspension.
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.