To start the two-match homestand this week, the Columbus Crew announced a member of the organization leaving. At the end of the 2022 season, assistant coach Blair Gavin will move to a head coaching role, taking charge FC Tulsa of the USL Championship.
Gavin joined the Crew’s coaching staff at the beginning of the 2021 season but has a history with head coach Caleb Porter and Major League Soccer. Although raised in Arizona, Gavin played college soccer in Akron, Ohio, playing 68 games as a midfielder for the University of Akron, where he played under Porter.
“I would like to personally thank Blair (Gavin) for all the work he put into our club over the past two seasons and want to congratulate him for this opportunity,” said Porter regarding Gavin’s move. “I am confident he’ll be an excellent coach in his new role.”
Although he left the year before the Zips won the 2010 national championship, Gavinn impressed scouts in MLS. He was drafted by Chivas USA in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Gavin made 45 appearances across stints with the now-defunct Chivas USA and the New England Revolution.
The new Tulsa head coach ended his professional career in 2017, after playing two seasons for Phoenix Rising of the USL. From there, Gavin moved into an assistant coaching role with Phoenix. A role that Gavin held until 2020.
Gavin joins an FC Tulsa side needing new leadership. On June 17, 2022, FC Tulsa fired coach Michael Nsien after starting the season with four wins, three draws and eight losses. Replacing Nsien in the interim was a former goalkeeper for Porter with the Portland Timbers, Donovan Ricketts.
Ricketts has FC Tulsa back in a spot where they’re competing, winning four, drawing one and losing five since his move into the interim manager position. FC Tulsa has eight matches remaining and sits in eighth, the final spot outside of the playoff places. Unlike the MLS Eastern Conference standings, the gap between Tulsa and seventh place is eight points, requiring FC Tulsa to show a lot in the team’s remaining matches if they hope to make the playoffs.
Either way, Gavin moves into the role once the Crew’s 2022 season ends. Currently, the Black & Gold sit in the final playoff spot with one or two games in hand on every other team ahead of them in the standings. With eight matches remaining, Columbus has a strong chance of making the MLS Cup playoffs if the team turns games in hand into three points, a problem of late.
Although the Crew has stayed close in matches, the Black & Gold have played to three straight draws, with two of the three seeing Columbus leading the match before allowing a match-tying goal. Even so, the Crew is on an impressive run with only one loss in the last 14 games.