Jack Pardee signed a three-year contract to coach the Washington Redskins yesterday, succeeding George Allen, the man he played and coached under for eight years in Los Angeles and Washington.
Pardee, 41, becomes the 16th head coach in Redskin history, and his contract is in the $125,000-a-year-range, the same salary Allen received the last seven seasons until he was fired last week.
Pardee flew to Washington yesterday afternoon from Chicago, met with team president Edward Bennett Williams for 2 1/2 hours and was introduced at a 5 p.m. press conference with his wife, Phyllis, by Williams.
Pardee, the head coach of the Chicago Bears the last three seasons before resigning last Thursday, said he would report to Redskin Park early this morning to begin preparations for the 1978 season.
His first order of business, he said, would be to meet with Allen's former assistant coaches. He said he specifically hoped to keep longtime Allen aide La Vern (Torgy) Torgeson, the Redskins' defensive coordinator, on his new staff.
In introducing Pardee, Williams said, "When it became inevitable we had to seek another coach, my No. 1 choice was Jack Pardee. I've known Jack a number of years and have developed a warm friendship with him. I have the highest admiration, respect and affection for Jack and Phyllis."
Pardee said he was overjoyed to return to what he described as "a beautiful town" and added he believed the Redskin coaching position could be the best job in the National Football League "because of the attitude of the town, the support that it gives the team, the commitment ownership has to excellence.
"There are certainly some drawbacks to it: the obvious one is the draft-choice situation right now." The Redskins do not have a selection until the ninth round of the 1978 draft. They have their first pick in 1979, but no subsequent pick until the seventh round.
Williams, meanwhile, said he would now focus his attention on obtaining a general manager, although he said, "There is not the kind of urgency on that as there was in picking a new head coach."
Williams said he may also wait a few weeks to see the outcome of other coaching and general manager shifts around the NFL, leading to speculation that he will seek a currently employed as a general manager.
With George Allen apparently the leading candidate for the Ram coaching job, Los Angeles general manager DonKlosterman may become available.
Williams declined to name any potential candidates, saying, "I have no list at this moment. I would like to get this settled as soon as possible."
Williams acted swiftly on Pardee, naming him head coach eight days after firing Allen. Pardee said his system and philosophies were similar to Allen's, "but there are things I'll do differently. I'm not going to discredit or deny anything George has done. I think he's a tremendous coach."
Pardee said he planned no major housecleaning, that he was not concerned about his new team's abundance of aging veterans and that "I don't see retirements as any big problem."
"The needs here are no greater than they are with most teams. The Redskin defense last year looked strong. Offensively it would be a big plus getting John Riggins back. I hope he's in shape.