The St. Louis Cardinals announced yesterday that Don Coryell would not be back next season as head coach of the National Football League club.
Coryell had three years to go on his contract and Managing General Partner Bill Bidwill said a settlement had been worked out Thursday night. The Cardinals interviewed Forrest Gregg, former Cleveland coach, Thursday, it was learned.
Coryell was th 10th coach to be let go or resign the end of the National Football League season.
The others were George Allen, by Washington; Jack Pardee, Chicago; Chuck Knox, Los Angeles; Gregg, Clveland; Hank Stram, New Orleans; Ken Meyer, San Francisco; Tom Bettis (interior coach), Kansas City; Tommy Hudspeth, Detroit and Jim RIngo, Buffalo.
Coryell, 53, had a 42-27-1 regular season record for five years at St. Louis, his first professional job. The Cardinals won the NFC East title in 1974 and 1975.
They dropped to 7-7 last season and after the Cardinals' second loss to the Redskins, Coryell publicly critized the management and fans.
The coach charges that the club did not give him enough influence in the draft - choosing a quarterback and a running back with high picks for 1977 when he said he needed defensive help - did not spend enough on veterans to keep the team competitive and provided him with a relatively small coaching staff.
Coryell resented fans booing him, said they harassed his family and added that his wife could not tolerate the cold-weather months in St. Louis.
The Cardinals asked the Rams if they were interested in hiring Coryell after Knox was let go and Coryell was interviewed in Los Angeles. A hitch developed over compensation sought by the Cardinals. Coryell also was considered by New Orleans before the Saint promoted Dick Nolan to head coach.
Coryell's name has been linked to speculation about the vacancy at Chicago, along with those of Bill Walsh of Stanford and Jack Gotta of Calgary of the Candian Football League. Of course, Chicago also has the cold weather Mrs. Coryell dislikes.
The Cleveland Browns had a 7-2 record under this season before quaterback Brian Sipe was lost through an injury.
The Browns finished with a 6-8 record after Gregg finished with a 9-5 mark in the Associated Press and runner-up by United Press International. He was promoted to head coach for the 1975 season, when he had 3-11 record.
Besides Gregg, the Cardinals reportedly have had consideration offensive line coach Jim Hanifan, defensive coordinator Ray Willsey and Larry Wilson, assistant director of operations.
Others mentioned from outside the organization are Michigan State Coach Darryl Rogers; John Ralston, former Denver coach and Rick Forzano, former Detroit and Naval Academy coach.
Rogers said yesterday, "I've had no contact with the Cardinals and I'm not going to St. Louis."
Under the conditions of Coryell's release from his contract, chief executive Bidwill said, "Unless she coaches (some other team) his pay and benefits will remain in effect through 1980."
Coryell may take a coaching job with any other team in the NFL in 1978 only with Bidwill's consent and with any other team in the NFC East in 1979, the "consent" implying a demand for compensation.