Washington Federals President Jim Gould said yesterday he probably will resign, perhaps before the end of this season, and predicted he would find a job with another U.S. Football League team in the near future.
Gould said that if he departs it might be considered symbolic and part of a total housecleaning that may include the firing of Coach Ray Jauch and General Manager Dick Myers. Gould said the odds are good that Jauch and Myers would be dismissed at some point, but said, "The actual decision has not been made." Of the two, Gould said, "Jauch is more vulnerable."
Team owner Berl Bernhard was not available to comment yesterday.
Of his future, Gould said, "If I were to leave within a few weeks I'd probably go with another team in the league (as president). I'd want a team that had other businesses related to it." Gould, who previously worked for Birmingham Stallions owner Marvin Warner, would not say which franchise he might join.
Gould insisted that if he decides to leave the Federals it will be his decision and not because the team has a 1-11 record. "They'll say I'm leaving a burning ship, but that's not so," he said. "If there's a hesitation on my part it's because we are losing, to tell you the truth. If we were winning, I would be less hesitant."
Since the 35-3 loss a month ago to the Stallions, there has been speculation that the jobs of Jauch and Myers were in jeopardy.
"We've been talking with the other owners of the team and some major thing will happen," Gould said. "Everyone's frustrated and they want to do something about it. But they want the changes to be for the long haul. They don't want to rush into anything."
Gould, an extremely aggressive executive, sits on the USFL's expansion, budget, marketing and media committees and admitted he preferred his work for the league to his duties with the Federals. Gould is a close associate of John Bassett, owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits. Both men are considered mavericks in the league, pressing for continued expansion, even to cities as distant as Tokyo and London.
Gould said he has declined opportunities to begin a franchise of his own, or to serve as USFL Commissioner Chet Simmons' assistant. "But I do want to stay involved in the league in some capacity," he said. "I like it here (in Washington) for the most part, but my style and other people's style doesn't always jell. I have a hard, go-after-it-style and not everybody likes that. Berl and I like each other but we have different styles."
In a private meeting with Bernhard a few weeks ago, Gould suggested the Federals' owner assume the president's responsibilities. "Berl said he would take the suggestion under advisement," Gould said. "Berl's the only one who can pull it together now. My job was to come in here and get 20,000 season tickets sold, and that's what I did . . . Unless a guy has control over the football side, there's not a lot more he can do."
In recent weeks, Gould has become more removed from daily decision-making. He was not involved in the hiring of a new advertising consultant, David Abramson.
Originally, Gould pressed for more entertainment packaging, having concerts and other events in tandem with Federals' games. Such attractions became impossible as the team continued to lose week after week. "It's too late. It would look like a sideshow," Gould said.
"We wanted to build our advertising around a strong personalities but Craig (James) hasn't stood out enough to build that."
James, who signed a four-year, $2-million contract with the Federals in January, has gained only 354 yards on 110 carries. Gould, asked if he felt the investment had turned out to be a bad one, said, "I don't think you'll be able to tell from this year. If he doesn't pan out next year it might be."