In a show business atmosphere at the Touchdown Club yesterday, Washington's entry in the United States Football League formally introduced its head coach, Ray Jauch, who wasn't there, and Kathy Haggerty, its director of cheerleaders, who was.
"Federals" will be the name of the team. The colors will be kelly green and white, with silver and black trim. The logo features an eagle, but looks more like those Federal Express signs.
Games will be played at RFK Stadium, starting March 6 (possibly against George Allen's Chicago Blitz) and by then Jauch should have a full complement of players to go with the cheerleaders, called the Untouchables, an ABC television contract and local radio coverage, probably by WMAL.
The silver-haired Jauch, whose prepared statement was videotaped in his office in Winnipeg, said he wouldn't be able to start here until the Canadian Football League season ends in late November. He said General Manager Dick Myers and Mike Faulkiner, the director of player personnel, already are working on signing players.
"We're going to try to build the type of team that the fans can be proud of," the 44-year-old coach said on a telephone hookup. "There are certain rules governing the acquisition of players. If there are Canadian players who are free agents, I would imagine they would have the opportunity to play in the new league."
Each USFL team has been assigned one CFL team to sign players from and, coincidentally, the Federals' team is Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers, in first place with a 5-1 record, have seven or eight players whose contracts expire at the end of the season.
"I won't mention it to any of my players," Jauch said. "That will be their decision . . . Most players tend to live year to year, and I don't think they're thinking about next season."
Jauch, whose teams have compiled a 110-80-4 record during his 12 years as a head coach in the CFL, was asked how long he thought it would take for the USFL to reach parity with Canadian football.
"It won't take too long," he said. "There are enough players out there."
One of the main rivals Jauch will be competing against is Allen, who already has stirred up things by signing players who are the property of competing USFL teams.
"George is always doing that," Jauch said, with a laugh. "George is George. We'll get our players and he'll get his and we'll both be happy."
Although the schedule has not been announced and ticket prices haven't been set, Jim Gould, the club's chief operating officer, said 5,000 season ticket applications have been received.
"Denver says it has received 40,000 applications," Berl Bernhard, the Washington team's owner, said. "Interest is very high in cities that don't have baseball. We're hoping to capitalize on that void here."