Anthony Precourt's vision for the Columbus Crew took one step closer to becoming a complete reality on Saturday.
With the hiring of Andy Loughnane as President of Business Operations, the Black & Gold have a leader in place that enhances the club's structure and business operations. Loughnane, formerly of the Detroit Pistons, has extensive Columbus ties as well, having worked for the Blue Jackets as well as for Glimcher Realty Trust. Additionally, the club now has a unique "two-pronged" organizational heirarchy in place, with Loughnane managing the business side of the club and Gregg Berhalter continuing to oversee the soccer side.
"For the first time in the Crew's history, we have a structure where we have a leader of our soccer operations and a leader of our business operations," said Precourt at Loughnane's introductory press conference. "Gregg [Berhalter] will be reporting directly to me and is doing a fantastic job. I'm thrilled with the progress we're making in terms of our product on the field. Andy is now the final piece of the puzzle to formulating a strong partnership between soccer and business."
Loughnane's familiarity with Columbus was a major factor in his hiring, so much so that Precourt called it the "lead criteria" in choosing the Crew's President of Business Operations.
"That was one of the magnetic reasons to return as well, is that I do have established relationships with leaders in this community," said Loughnane. "As I highlighted earlier, this is a region that emphasizes relationships, philanthropy so strongly. I believe that some of the people and processes that I'm aware of from my first stint in Columbus will be helpful."
The unique nature of the role also allows Berhalter to focus solely on soccer.
"What we've done and what I've done in the last eight months is try to build a staff that can survive on its own," said the Crew's Sporting Director and Head Coach. "I think we put really good people in place. I'm looking forward to working with Andy and I appreciate the continued support from Anthony. When you talk about being able to do the things we do, it's all because of the support from ownership. Now that we have a President of Business Operations in place, it's a good step for the club and it's a step forward."
It's a step that puts the Crew one inch closer to Precourt's ultimate vision in making the Columbus Crew a League power.
"Our philosophy, our formula for success is that good soccer is going to lead to good business, and good business is going to lead to good soccer," said Precourt. "We now have our bookends, our team that is going to go out and make the Columbus Crew stronger and better, more attractive on the field and more successful off."