Ray Jauch, veteran Canadian Football League coach, has been hired as the first head coach of Washington's United States Football League team, it has been learned.
Jauch (pronounced Yawk) is coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and will not assume his Washington responsibilities until after the CFL season ends in November, according to USFL sources. He was not available for comment yesterday, and Washington team officials have refused comment until a formal announcement is made.
General Manager Dick Myers previously had confirmed that Jauch and Paul Lanham, an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Rams, were the only candidates for the Washington job.
Jauch apparently was picked over Lanham because of his head coaching experience. Lanham has never been a head coach on the pro level; Jauch is in his 12th year as a head coach, all in the CFL.
Sources said that since neither man was considered a big-name attraction to local fans, it was decided that Jauch would be the safer gamble, mainly because of his successful record. Jauch also was a leading candidate for the coaching position of the USFL's Tampa franchise.
Jauch, a halfback on the University of Iowa's 1959 Rose Bowl team, has won one Grey Cup championship (the CFL's Super Bowl) while at Edmonton. His teams have gained the playoffs six times, including two other Grey Cups.
After a year as director of Edmonton's football operations, Jauch became coach at Winnipeg in 1978. The Blue Bombers since have made three playoff appearances and were 4-1 this season entering last night's game against Calgary. He had a 105-79-4 CFL record before this season.
Jauch played two years in the CFL before tearing an Achilles' tendon in the 1961 Grey Cup game. Before taking over at Edmonton, he served as an assistant there under former Chicago Bears coach Neill Armstrong.
Jauch is known as a disciplinarian with the ability to organize and direct his players. In the CFL, he has favored a wide-open offense.