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Anthony Precourt Conference Call Updates

Precourt addressed the media via conference call after the announcement that Mark McCullers will step down as Crew President.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After the Columbus Crew announced Monday morning that the team and President Mark McCullers would be parting ways, owner Anthony Precourt took time to answer questions from the media. Here is what he had to say.

  • Started by saying that he "accepted Mark McCullers' resignation" as President of the Crew. Said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Mark and what he's done in his time here.
  • Precourt said they met to talk about the future of the club and the direction they wanted it to go to be "one of the top clubs in the league." Following that talk, they decided it was best for a change in leadership. Thanked McCullers for everything he has given to the organization.
  • Said they will be thorough because this is such an important role heading into the future and there is no timetable for appointing a new President.
  • Asked about the Time Warner backlash, Precourt said it was really about the future direction of the club and the vision he has. Said the offseason is the most important time for the front office of the club, but he and McCullers didn't have time to talk about the future. Stated that he has now begun to think about 2015 and they wouldn't be able to hire a new leader if McCullers saw out his contract until November. Wants the new person to be assimilated before 2015 business planning begins.
  • When asked about making this decision two weeks into the season, he said the offseason was about hiring Berhalter and his staff as well as making the improvements to the stadium, the Obetz training ground, the affiliation with the Dayton Dutch Lions, and other things he could not yet discuss.
  • Said this will give him time to find a new leader and get him installed and assimilated before any planning for the future begins.
  • Precourt said that McCullers' decision-making transfers to Precourt immediately. McCullers will remain to help transition the day-to-day responsibilities and say his goodbyes in a respectful way.
  • In terms of the new President, Precourt said Berhalter will handle the soccer operations of the club and the new leader will be a peer of his in terms of running the business operations. Said they need to improve in that respect as well as continue to develop on the field. The person will be more of a business executive and Berhalter and the new executive will report to Precourt who will be more involved.
  • Precourt said they will get flatter as an organization and the business division heads will have to rise up and assume some of McCullers' responsibilities.
  • He brought up Dave Greeley, who works for him at Precourt Sports Ventures as an owner representative and he will help during this time. Said the former Chicago Fire President is not a candidate for the position and will remain in his current role.
  • Precourt pointed out that McCullers had been at this level with the Crew for 10 years and called that "a life time." Said in talking with McCullers, Precourt believed he was ready for a new challenge and this was a good time.
  • The search committee is going to be just Precourt. He said it would be awkward to have employees try to hire their boss.
  • Asked about the negative feedback from the Time Warner deal and helping to increase the access and distribution, Precourt said they are aware of the reaction to the deal. Said he will be getting more involved in this and will have more to come on that subject at a later date.
  • Precourt said it was too early to tell about what he's looking for in a new President. Said when they were looking for a coach, they thought they would hire two positions (head coach and sporting director) but Berhalter fit the role of both. Said it will be like finding a spouse, "you know when you know."
  • The new hire will be more business oriented, but hopefully will have sports experience.
  • Stated that he had already spoken with Don Garber and that he was on the phone for over 10 hours yesterday. Will solicit advice and seek introductions from a number of people including MLS.
  • Precourt said this will obviously increase his workload. "I''m all in on this and I'm double all in now."
  • There was no pre-planned meeting with McCullers according to Precourt. There were no discussions surrounding this decision until this weekend.
  • Stated that the business initiatives that they still have work to do are driving the Crew's season ticket holder base and cooperate sponsorships, stadium naming rights, work on re-branding and the culture and these will all be things the new hire will have on his or her plate.
  • Said they have a great relationship in the community and the person they choose will have to be able to get involved in the community and represent the club very well.