At 9:28 a.m., the tall man in the dark blue blazer left the long black limousine, stepped gingerly through the parking lot sluch, almost slipping once on a strip of ice, and made his way though the front door at Redskin Park.
He bounced quickly up the stairs, shaking hands with a photographer, several reporters and a young woman messenger for a Washington delivery service. "Oh, I'm so thrilled to meet you," she gushed.
"I'm just glad to here," said Jack Pardee. And he looked it.
Less than 18 hours after he was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Washington Redskins, Pardee returned to Redskin Park for the first time since he resigned as an assistant coach four years ago to coach a team in the World Football League.
There were more handshakes and beaming faces all around in the reception area as Pardee renewed acquaintances with members of the front-office staff. "Doesn't he look great?" cooed one secretary. And then Pardee quickly ducked into the office formerly occupied by George Allen to begin his first day on the job.
It was, Pardee said later, a productive first day, even if there was no news about his first priority - selecting his assistant coaching staff.
Pardee has met with LaVern Torgeson, Allen's efensive coordinator the last seven years, secondary coach Ralph Hawkins and Paul Lanham, the special-team coach and said he planned to speak with all members of the staff before making any decisions.
Pardee had said previously that the specifically hoped Torgeson would stay on, and Lauham and Hawkins probably also will be asked to remain on the staff.
Pardee said yesterday he may carry as many of nine assistants, including a strength and conditioning coach, and several of his coaches on the Chicago Bears are expected to join his staff in Washington.
Pardee has already said that Bon Bowser, a former Redskins publicity man and Pardee's special assistant in Florida and Chicago the last four years, will be coming to Washington. Other possibilities from the Bear staff are offensive line coach Ray Callahan, defensive line coach Brad Ecklund and special teams coach John Hilton.
Torgeson said, "Nothing has been decided yet. I've talked with a few other teams and I'd like to sit down and talk with Jack a little more before I make a decision. I like it here in Washington. It would be hard to leave, but I don't know what I'm going to do yet."
Pardee also spent a good portion of his day reviewing the contractual status of players on the roster. "With the change in this transition," he said, "you don't want to have a mixup and lose the rights to a player with that Feb. 1 deadline.
By Feb. 1, every NFL team must make a "qualifying offer" to any player who played out his option in 1977. If the players do not receive offers, the become free agents with no strings attached.
If a man receives a qualifying offer, he can negotiate with other teams, but his original team has the right to match any offer a player receives from another team. If the origianl team matches the offer, the player remains with the team.
At least two Redskins, defensive tackle Bill Brundige and reserve linebacker Pete Wysocki, played out their options last year. Both have received qualifying offers from the Redskins.
Pardee was asked if he would be shopping around for other option playouts around the league. "There you get into the matter of compensation," he said. "We'll try to improve the Redskin team in every way possible. But we don't have the draft choices to compensate anyone."
Pardee confirmed the Redskins had traded away theirfirst eight picks in the 1978 draft, but said they will get to choose in the eighth round because of a previous trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
"What turned the club around (in Chicago) was some low draft choices and key free agents," Pardee said. "James Scott made a big difference, and he was a free agent who was second in receiving in the NFL this year. Gary Fencik our safety, was a free agent two years ago."
"We've got to get lucky on people like that . . . We'll have to work the waiver wire. There's no immediate help in the draft, but if you do a good job, you get help down the line and still have some good players on your special teams. Most first-round draft choices don't help you immediately, anyway."
Pardee met with reporters for 45 minutes early in the afternoon, showing up precisely at the scheduled 2 p.m. starting time and staying until every question was answered.