Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rapids And Jeff Plush Part Ways

Colorado announced this afternoon that Managing Director Jeff Plush is leaving the club. Depending on which report or rumor you believe Plush either resigned (ESPN), amicably split (press release), or was fired (poster's inside sources). Regardless the Rapids will now need to find a new Managing Director and a new Head Coach.

The timing of this move is odd at best. If KSE made the decision, why would you remove somebody that you've had interviewing new head coaches as recently as last week? You were hoping to get a new coach in place in the next two weeks, but what are the odds of hiring a coach before you hire a Managing Director? The offseason now turns into chaos as the Rapids need to find a Managing Director, and then the new Director will have to find a coach. And the Superdraft is just 37 days away, with Christmas and New Year's between here and there. I hope this wasn't a sudden decision due to something happening in Jeff's personal life. Regardless of your opinion of his work nobody should have to deal with something like that.

Making this move is a good one for the Rapids. I thought Plush would be out after last year, until we made our MLS Cup run. With the exception of the new stadium bounce in 2007, attendance dropped every year under Plush between 2006 and 2009, then barely stabilized in 2010. We never found a jersey sponsor, even when adding the opportunity to be seen in CCL, despite repeated promises. Outside of the playoff run to MLS Cup last year the team was average every year Plush was in charge, only making the playoffs half the time. Generally this is not the image of a team moving forward, more just standing still. That's not what you want to see in a sports organization.

On a personal note I'm going to miss Jeff. As you can see I was not impressed by the results of his leadership but he was always willing to take the time to talk to me or answer my emails. I remember ripping into the organization in an email to him when once again we lost a "coin flip" to host a U.S. Open Cup qualifier, only to find out 30 minutes later that this is the one time the coin flip was recorded. I emailed him again with egg on my face but he just let it go and never brought it up again. Jeff seemed like a person who was really trying to do the right thing, but never had the resources to figure out and do it.

In the end though, the new Managing Director will have the same issues Plush had, mainly a parent organization that doesn't care about the team. KSE isn't going to change the budget or suddenly make the Rapids the jewel in the crown of their sports holdings. Some new blood with new ideas should be good but in the long run the Rapids are still working under the same constraints as always.

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