The Gibbs coaching search


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Angry, Washington Post-hating readers say a lot of things. They’ve said a lot of things during this Redskins coaching search. Among them:

* There’ve been too many candidates’ names thrown out.

* There’ve been too many anonymous sources.

* There’ve been too many people defending the coach.

* There’s been too much unfair blame of the owner.

I just went back and read a bunch of clips from when Jack Pardee was fired and Joe Gibbs hired in the first few days of 1981. And I found that almost everything was the same. THERE WERE NO GOOD OLD DAYS. THUS IT WAS, THUS IT IS, AND THUS IT ALWAYS SHALL BE.

I will divide this into sections. Really, I should just publish every single story, because it’s an amazing read, in no small part because you can read every word we published on the subject in one sitting. There were about 20 stories from the moment Pardee was fired to the moment Gibbs was hired. In the same span this year, we published 38 Redskins Insider blog posts, two Jason Reid columns, a Boz column, a Mike Wise column, a Sally Jenkins column, an editorial board piece, two A1 pieces, a whole bunch of incremental news stories, and enough Bog items to shorten my life expectancy considerably.

THE CANDIDATES

Jan. 6: Beathard did say he would favor an NFL assistant coach over a college head coach or an ex-professional head coach. Current, professional assistant coaches considered strong head coaching candidates are Dan Reeves of Dallas. Joe Gibbs of San Diego, George Perles of Pittsburgh, Tom Bass of Tampa Bay and Dick Coury of Philadelphia.

It was reported previously that the Redskins have had informal contact with three other candidates: George Allen, former Redskin coach; John Robinson, head coach of the University of Southern California and John Madden, former coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Jan. 6: A list of highly regarded NFL assistants includes Joe Gibbs, offensive coordinator for San Diego; Dan Reeves, offensive coordinator of the Cowboys; Tom Bass, defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay; Dick Coury, the Eagles’ wide receiver coach; George Perles, the Steelers’ defensive coordinator, and Marty Schottenheimer, the Browns’ defensive coordinator.

Several former NFL head coaches also are available, including former Colt coach Ted Marchibroda, former Chief and Saint coach Hank Stram, and Bum Phillips, last week fired by the Houston Oilers….

Detroit Coach Monte Clark, an assistant coach at Miami when Beathard was the Dolphins’ personnel director, also is reportedly unhappy in Detroit and may be available. Beathard also is very good friends with University of Miami Coach Howard Schnellenberger, a former Dolphin assistant and head coach with the Baltimore Colts. And, for a longshot possibility, there is Hugh Campbell, the 39-year-old head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, the Grey Cup champions in the Canadian Football League.

Jan. 7: Sources said owner Jack Kent Cooke and General Manager Bobby Beathard…are focusing on Gibbs, Tom Bass of Tampa Bay and two college coaches, Howard Schnellenberger of the University of Miami and Darryl Rogers of Arizona State. Jack Pardee was fired Monday.

ANONYMOUS SOURCES

Jan. 6: Sources said it is unlikely Allen would return to the Redskins as long as Beathard is general manager….According to sources, Cooke agonized over the decision to fire Pardee, saying it was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do as a team owner. One source said Cooke is very fond of Pardee and considers him “a true gentleman and a fine man.”…Sources say Cooke finally determined that the club was being hindered by a lack of leadership.”

Jan. 6: Sources say Cooke also is optimistic that the Redskins can have a winning record next season.

Jan. 7: A league source familiar with the Redskin operation said Gibbs was the man Beathard apparently favored, and said he was certain the Redskins already have spoken to Gibbs, Bass, Schnellenberger and Rogers about the job….”There is no chance Allen will be hired,” said a source, who added that Allen “desperately wanted the job back despite what he says to the newspapers.”…Dan Reeves of the Dallas Cowboys also is still under consideration, sources say.

Jan. 9: Although Beathard would not comment on the matter, sources say Cooke is willing to spend the money it would take to gather the caliber of staff he has in mind.

Jan. 10: Sources say Beathard was close to a number of deals this past year, including one that would have sent Joe Lavender to Oakland for draft choices. But the trades reportedly were nixed by Pardee.

Jan. 11: One Redskin official, not without prejudice, called Beathard’s maneuvers against Pardee “the most deceitful act in pro sports in this town.”

Jan. 12: Joe Gibbs, offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, will be hired as the head coach of the Washington Redskins pending expected approval by owner Jack Kent Cooke, The Washington Post has learned.

Jan. 13: Cooke said Gibbs signed a multi-year contract, but refused to reveal its terms. But sources said it is a three-year contract starting at $100,000 a season.

THE COACH DEFENDERS

Jan. 6: They said all the right things, the things you say when a decent man loses his job.

The Redskins reacted to the firing of their coach, Jack Pardee, with some shock that was in itself surprising, and sadness at a business that translates job security into wins and losses.

“I hate it,” said Ken Houston, who was benched during his final season with the Redskins. “I hate it for him. I hate it for his family because they seemed to like it here in Washington. Last year, he was coach of the year. This year, we didn’t win as many as we probably should have. It wasn’t his fault. We had injuries that hurt us. When we started winning, it was too late.”

Kicker Mark Moseley said, “It makes me sick in the stomach. It upsets me.”

Jan. 6: The bars and taverns along Pennsylvania Avenue SE between the Capitol and RFK Stadium have long been Redskin turf, and the reaction there yesterday to the firing of Coach Jack Pardee was immediate and vocal.

“You wait and see. Jack Pardee will come back to haunt this town,” shouted Mike Vaughn, a season-ticket holder since 1960…. “I think that Jack Pardee is one of the better coaches in football, and I think that in the next five years Jack Pardee’s name will be mentioned right up there with Tom Landry and Don Shula as one of the great coaches of the game.”…

As the after-work bunch drifted in, news of Pardee’s discharge spread quickly. The overwhelming sentiment seemed to be supportive of the embattled coach.

Jan. 6: Pardee’s greatest problem might have been remaining himself. He did not stroke the owner’s ego, make him privy to strategy. Neither was Pardee good at con. Many coaches would have invented ways to convince the boss they were working miracles with the available players, that nobody can train a mule to win the Kentucky Derby.

Many coaches would have been preaching that daily to the owner, if not to the players and fans. Pardee stayed silent. He wanted to be judged by his record. His record, 24-24, is mediocre. Nobody cared about the extenuating circumstances. (From a Ken Denlinger column)

Jan. 6: Our own judgment of Mr. Pardee’s performance as coach of the Redskins is not nearly so harsh as that of the team’s owner, Jack Kent Cooke, who fired Mr. Pardee yesterday. It was hardly Mr. Pardee’s fault that the team’s best running back played not a minute last fall, that its ace place kicker (and the league’s best) suddenly couldn’t kick straight, and that during a key stretch of the season almost every important play, every penalty and every bounce of the ball went against the Redskins. (From a staff editorial.)

THE OWNER BLAMERS

Jan. 6: In the basement at Duddington’s, Mavis McCormack, a Redksin fan since the 1940s, lifted a brew and added her voice to the litany of laments.

“I go all the way back to the days of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh,” said McCormack. “But I feel real badly about this.

“Last year the team wasn’t supposed to do very well at all but they showed a lot of promise and I think that was because of Pardee. This year I think he was undermined by (owner Jack Kent) Cooke. It happens all the time when you’re being undermined by your boss. Nobody is going to do anything for you. And that’s what happened to Pardee. Edward Bennett Williams never would have done that.”

Jan. 7: “Yeah, I’m bitter,” Pardee said in an instant after insisting he wasn’t. “I think he (owner Jack Kent Cooke) made a big mistake. But it’s his ball. He can play with it the way he wants to. It was a difference of opinion. Now I can run my farm the way I want to….

“There’s one thing I certainly agree with Mr. Cooke on, a saying he used that I’d never heard before, that a fish stinks from the head. Not the tail or the body but the head. I think Mr. (Edward Bennett) Williams had a very successful run at running the Redskins.Mr. Cooke’s has just started. We’ll see. It’s gonna take one, two, three, four years and we’ll see how that goes.”

Later, Pardee said: “We’ll wait a couple of years and see how the fish smells.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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