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Sigi And Crew's Reasons For Divorce Still Unclear

Michael Arace ponders Sigi Schmid's departure form the Columbus Crew and, after listening to both Schmid and Crew GM Mark McCullers, is still not clear on "how the first major professional team title in Columbus history was followed, in short order, by uncomely divorce."

"I wish it hadn't come to this, but it was unavoidable," said Schmid. "At the end of the day, just like we tell players, you have to go on to the next play." McCullers praised Schmid for leading the team to the MLS Cup title, but added that "to say he single-handedly manifested this result makes me uneasy. I'm not willing to exclude the contributions of everyone else in the organization for the success we had this year."

Schmid said he "never would have been looking at other teams" if the Crew had met his contract demands in September. McCullers said the Crew was "within the parameters" of Schmid's asking price in October, if not September. But the GM's instinct was that the coach had been "predisposed" toward leaving Columbus for the West Coast.

Both sides have a point, says Arace. The Crew and its owner, Hunt Sports Group, is known for its frugality, although McCullers claimed "it was not a financial issue" that stopped Schmid returning. Schmid, on the other hand, conceded that his family's L.A. location played a part in the separation. But he had still been considering an extension of his stay in Columbus until it filed tampering charges against Seattle Sounders FC, the team expected to offer him his next position, and that "the length of the [negotiating] process with the Crew impacted" his decision.

"Around and around it goes," concludes Arace. "The place I keep returning to is here: it is not good business parting ways with a coach after a championship season."



Read the whole story at Columbus Dispatch »

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