MLS: Columbus coach Liekoski resigns

Timo Liekoski has resigned from his duties as head coach of the Columbus Crew, the team announced today. Tom Fitzgereald, the team's assistant coach, will take over on an interim basis.

"We are an organization committed to excellence in all areas," said Crew GM Jamey Rootes. "We thought we needed to make a change at this point in the season to get our team back on track."

Liekoski, the former U.S. Olympic team coach, had only managed a 6-16 record with the Crew, which is mired in last place in the Eastern Conference of MLS.

The 44-year-old Fitzgerald was the head coach at NCAA Division II powerhouse Tampa, where he led the team to eight consecutive postseason berths, and the 1994 Division II championship. In addition, he was an assistant coach with the U.S. national "B" team from 1990-94.

"[Tom Fitzgerald] has been extremely successful on the collegiate level," said Rootes. "We're confident he will bring improvement to the Columbus Crew for the rest of the 1996 season."

"This was not the way I wanted to realize my dream of being a head coach of a professional Division I team," said Fitzgerald. "But I will live up to my obligation to the Crew, and strive to do my very best for this team."

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