The reborn Columbus Crew ushered in a new era Friday with the hirings of Tim Bezbatchenko as president and Caleb Porter as head coach.
Bezbatchenko, who built Toronto FC from the ground up as general manager, will oversee the Crew's business and soccer operations.
Porter, meanwhile, is back in soccer after a short hiatus. The 43-year-old coached the Portland Timbers from 2013-2017.
"We are thrilled to have secured Tim Bezbatchenko and Caleb Porter to lead Columbus Crew SC," the club's new ownership group, led by the Haslam and Edwards families, said in a statement. "Tim's track record in building a successful team, including an MLS Cup in 2017, along with his experience on both the league side and club side of Major League Soccer, make him uniquely qualified to serve as president and provides strong leadership.
"Caleb has been a proven winner every place he has coached and, like Tim, won the MLS Cup in 2015."
The move brings Bezbatchenko, a native of Westerville, Ohio, closer to home. It also gives the Crew one of the most knowledgeable and savvy executives in the league. Before leading TFC to glory, the 37-year-old served as MLS' senior director of player relations and competitions.
His biggest achievements, however, came in Toronto. Bezbatchenko lured Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore to TFC - three players who formed the backbone of the Reds' MLS Cup runs in 2016 and 2017.
"It is a new era in Columbus, and with the stewardship of the Edwards family and the Haslam family, I am excited to get started as we make our quest for championship titles, deep engagement with the supporters and the community, and a commitment to continually give back to the city," Bezbatchenko said in a statement.
Porter enjoyed similar success as head coach of the Timbers, posting a 68-50-52 record during his five seasons with the Western Conference franchise. He made an instant impact in 2013, leading basement-dwelling Portland from 17th in the standings the previous year to third place and the semifinals of the MLS Cup. He was named MLS Coach of the Year for masterminding the turnaround.
Porter also has previous experience with soccer in Ohio, having coached the University of Akron to an NCAA College Cup in 2009.