One of the observations Crew fans might notice is how the club likes to trot out the club’s record since Robert Warzycha has taken over the club in 2009. In fact, Tim Miller of thecrew.com recently listed out Warzycha’s “Win-Loss-Draw*” regular season record since 2009:
1) Bruce Arena: 69-35-36
2) Jason Kreis 67-43-35
3) Sigi Schmid: 65-37-40
4) Robert Warzycha: 60-46-38
5) Dom Kinnear: 55-44-43
Fourth place. That’s all great but most Crew fans remember that for the first two years of Warzycha’s tenure you had players like Frankie Hejduk, Gino Padula, Alejandro Moreno and the incomparable Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
That changed during the winter of 2010 saw a giant roster purge of most of the key players involved in hardware winning years of 2008-09.
If you start Warzycha’s tenure in 2011 you don’t find anything close to a coach that should be listed with the likes of Arena, Kreis, Schmid or Kinnear.
In fact, you could add Peter Vermes, Schellas Hyndman and Frank Klopas to that list of coaches that have had better success than Warzycha since 2011.
1) Bruce Arena 42-23-19
2) Sigi Schmid 39-20-23
3) Jason Kreis 41-27-17
4) Peter Vermes 37-21-26
5) Dominic Kinnear 32-23-29
6) Schellas Hyndman 32-28-24
7) Frank Klopas 31-27-25
8) Robert Warzycha 33-31-20
9) Ben Olsen 28-34-22
These nine listed above also happen to be the only coaches that have been with their respective clubs since 2011. The other unlisted ten teams have had a coaching change.
Here is how each club looks as ranked by Points Earned Per Game over the last three years. Highlighted in teal are the clubs that have not had the same coach since 2011.
1) Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy
2) Sigi Schmid, Seattle Sounders FC
3) Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake
4) Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City
5) NA, New York Red Bulls
6) Dominic Kinnear, Houston Dynamo
7) NA, Montreal Impact
8) NA, San Jose Earthquakes
9) Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas
10) Frank Klopas, Chicago Fire
11) Robert Warzycha, Columbus Crew
12) NA, Philadelphia Union
13) Ben Olsen, D.C. United
14) NA, Colorado Rapids
15) NA, Portland Timbers
16) NA, Vancouver Whitecaps
17) NA, New England Revolution
18) NA, Chivas USA
19) NA, Toronto FC
Painfully obvious are the coaching changes that we see towards the bottom of the results table since 2011. The only real surprise might be the sudden departure of Frank Yallop at San Jose.
The only coach below Warzycha is Ben Olsen of my home town DC United. Part of the reason he is hanging on has to do with the fact that he took care of NY last fall in the playoffs, the other part is his legendary status with the club.
WHY IT APPEARS CLEAR CUT
Most teams in professional sports across the world are able to identify a simple trend. Have a couple bad years? Your third is probably the end. Most statisticians out there will tell you that three data points in any direction are a trend.
In analyzing the data further you notice that the coaches still coaching with the same team since 2011 have won at least one playoff game except for Frank Klopas and Robert Warzycha.
Here are the number of games won by the teams that have made the MLS Cup playoffs:
Wins : Team
8 : LA Galaxy
6 : Houston Dynamo
3 : Seattle Sounders FC
3 : Sporting Kansas City
1 : D.C. United
1 : San Jose Earthquakes
1 : Real Salt Lake
1 : Colorado Rapids
1 : New York Red Bulls
0 : Philadelphia Union
0 : Columbus Crew
0 : Vancouver Whitecaps
0 : Chicago Fire
0 : FC Dallas
If you are keeping count, that is 14 different MLS teams that have participated in the playoffs since 2011. Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Chivas USA, Toronto FC and the Portland Timbers have not made the playoffs in that time frame (Impact and Timbers are expansion sides).
What this leaves us with is the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire as the only teams to not have a playoff win since 2011 and not to have made a coaching change. Midwestern temperament? Okay. Perhaps.
Personally, I do not think head coaching changes do a whole lot. I believe that ‘coaches’ should be seen exactly as their title suggests; nothing more than a coach. A knuckle dragging grunt with a whistle hanging out of his mouth making sure players show up the training facility on time.
It’s the job of the executives above the middle management level coaches and managers to make the club work. Their responsibility is finding the right manager, trainer, coach... psychologist... to make things go and be successful.
Mark McCullers carries the title of General Manager and President of this Columbus club. He is the person that should be taking ownership of current results.
The Crew are a team that has managed an overall regular season record of 11th, a coach with a record of 8th out of 9 still standing since 2011, and zero playoff wins. Warzycha is McCullers' hire. He re-signed him in 2011. His results. His responsibility. His baby.
*Important note for anyone living outside the borders of the USA (the 5.7 billion lot of you), MLS uses W-L-T and not W-D-L when reporting record.