Former Columbus Crew coach Greg Andrulis -- the 2004 MLS coach of the year -- was named the George Mason men's soccer coach yesterday on the first day of fall practice.

Former coach Fran O'Leary resigned last week, moving to a Division III job at Bowdoin College in Maine for family reasons. George Mason officials soon contacted Andrulis, who had been fired last month after more than nine seasons in the Columbus organization.

The Patriots met their new coach at a team meeting yesterday morning; shortly thereafter, with Andrulis still "putting names to faces," practice began. But Andrulis, who guided Wright State to 12 straight winning seasons before joining the Crew, said the late start would not be a problem.

"At the end of the day it's a soccer ball, and we're going to go out, kick it around and win some games," he said. "Certainly, having a position open up in the middle of the summer is very unusual, but this is what I want to do -- be a college coach -- and I'm awfully happy to be here."

George Mason advanced to the NCAA tournament seven times from 1982 to 1990, but has not made it back since 1996. Andrulis's record was 49-43-32 as the Crew's head coach.

-- Dan Steinberg