Greg Andrulis has been relieved of his coaching duties by the Columbus Crew, general manager Mark McCullers announced in a Tuesday morning press conference. Robert Warzycha will take over the head coaching responsibilies on an interim basis.
"Last Saturday's match against the San Jose Earthquakes marked the midpoint of the Columbus Crew regular season. It is an appropriate time to evaluate the direction of the program and measure our progress in terms of reaching our goals," said McCullers.
"Clearly, our results this year has not been acceptable for the organization or the fans. Accordingly, I have relieved coach Greg Andrulis of his coaching responsibilities effective immediately." The change comes as the Crew organization believe they gave Andrulis enough time to get things turned around.
"We wanted to make sure that we gave this administration every opportunity to turn the team around and get the results that we thought were achievable for this season," said McCullers.
Andrulis guided the Crew to the Supporters Shield last season with the best overall record in MLS, but results proved to more difficult to obtain this season. The Crew are in the cellar on the Eastern Conference, 10 points behind the MetroStars for the final playoff berth.
"This business is about accountability and results. In that regard, I assume full responsibility for the results of this organization. I do not lay this on the feet of Greg Andrulis," said McCullers. "For me, success is only measure by the Crew performing as one of the elite clubs in Major League Soccer. It is the challenge that I took on when I assumed this job last year."
Unfortunately for Andrulis, one of the nicest guys in MLS, his job was ultimately in jeopardy after a string of poor results. The Crew are winless in their last five outings, have earned only two points in six away games this season, and only have one win in 10 conference matches.
"I would like to thank Greg Andrulis for his nine-plus years with the Crew organization. He is a consummate professional," said McCullers. "He is gentlemen and an incredible ambassador of the Crew. I expect that he will always be an incredible ambassador of the Crew organization. On behalf of the organization, we wish Greg and his family the very best."
In a statement released by the club, Andrulis said in part: "It is with great disappointment that my tenure with the Columbus Crew has closed after 24 years as a successful collegiate and professional soccer coach. It is the first time in 24 seasons that I have been unable to fulfill my contractual obligations after being terminated for the first time in my career. Although difficult for me personally and for my family I have much to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work for a first-class organization for 10 years."
The Crew organization hopes the coaching change leads to a change in the team's attitude.
"To capture my evaluation, we don't have a championship mentality. We don't have a championship atmosphere right now," said McCullers. "For me, it is about creating that championship atmosphere and I thought a change in leadership would effect that and help us get to that place."
Injuries can also be blamed for the lack or results. Ross Paule, Duncan Oughton and Jon Busch all suffered season-ending injuries earlier this season.
"Frankly, we have been dealt a pretty difficult hand. Neither Greg nor myself are a guy that likes to make excuses," said McCullers. "The injuries were a factor in how this team performed so far. The changing lineups are always difficult to deal with."
The lineup changes may not be finished either.
"We have some on-field needs that we are going to address. We need a couple of midfielders," said McCullers. "Duncan and Ross's injuries were tremendous losses for us and I don't think we quite addressed those losses. I think midfield help is our key priority right now."
He added: "At this point in time, we have options going into the European transfer window."
Long-time Crew standout Warzycha will assume the head coaching responsibilities on an interim basis.
"I have the utmost confidence in Robert Warzycha to lead this team and provide leadership to salvage a successful 2005 campaign," said McCullers. "To our fans, we appreciate your continued support. We look forward to a successful second half of the 2005 season."
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.