Wilfried Nancy leaves CF Montreal to take over as head coach of the Columbus Crew

MONTREAL — Wilfried Nancy, a finalist for MLS coach of the year, has left CF Montreal to take over the Columbus Crew.

The 45-year-old Nancy succeeds Caleb Porter, who was fired one day after the regular season ended Oct. 9 with the Crew (10-8-16) finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the playoffs for a second straight year.

Nancy, meanwhile, led Montreal to second place in the East with a 20-9-5 record. Montreal opened the playoffs by beating Orlando 2-0 before falling 3-1 to New York City FC in the East semifinal.

The regular season saw Montreal set franchise records for wins (20), points (65) and goals scored (63), among other marks. Its 35 points away from home was also an MLS record in the non-shootout era.

Nancy narrowly lost to Philadelphia's Jim Curtin in balloting for the 2022 Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year Award. Curtin had 23.57 per cent of the vote by MLS technical staff, media, and players, while Nancy had 23.47 per cent.

Montreal has already seen plenty of turnover with U.S. star midfielder Djordje Mihailovic and Canadian internationals Alistair Johnston and Ismael Kone moving to clubs in Europe.

Nancy succeeded Thierry Henry as Montreal head coach in March 2021 after the former star striker announced his departure from the club for family reasons.

Nancy worked in a variety of roles with Montreal, serving as a coach with the club’s academy since its inception in 2011. He coached the club's under-16, under-18 and under-21 teams before becoming a first-team assistant coach in 2016.

Born in Toulon, Nancy played from 1995 to 2005 in France.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022

The Canadian Press