Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha signed a multi-year contract extension on Thursday. Warzycha’s previous contract expired at the end of this season. The new deal is for two years, with a option to extend it to a third or fourth year.
Robert Warzycha played for the Crew from their inaugural season of 1996, till 2002. He is the club’s all-time assists leader with 61. Warzycha became an assistant coach for Columbus in 2003, and he took over as interim manager in during the 2005 season where he went 7-6-3. He finally was awarded the head coaching job in 2009 after Sigi Schmid left the Crew for the Seattle Sounders. The Polish Rifle has been black and gold since day one.
However, many fans have questioned Warzycha’s coaching abilities during the past three years. He did lead the team to the 2009 MLS Supporters’ Shield, but the Crew were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Real Salt Lake. Warzycha benched Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the team’s leading scorer and best player, for the first leg. Many fans began calling for Warzycha’s demise.
In the 2010 season, Columbus was knocked out of the playoffs once again in the first round. They did make it to the U.S. Open Cup final, but they lost to Schmid’s Sounders. To make matters even worse during the off-season, Warzycha released many fan-favorites and veterans, including Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Duncan Oughton, and Gino Padula.
This year, Warzycha has the Crew sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with only eight games remaining. The 2011 team is made up of a lot of rookies and players Waryzcha brought in during the off-season.
Warzycha’s all-time MLS record of 45-29-28 gives him a .578 winning percentage, the highest among all Crew coaches. He is 55-41-33 in all competitions.
Warzycha’s coaching tenure may be one of the most discussed and fought over times during the Crew’s history. He hasn’t brought home a MLS Cup yet, but he has done better than almost every other coach Columbus has had. Many people are questioning why this deal was just made after the Crew’s most recent match was a 6-2 drubbing in Seattle. What do you think? Should the front office have waited until the end of the season to decide on Warzycha’s future? Or does doing it now allow the team to focus solely on bringing home hardware? Let us know!