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Hoping for stability
Retired former GM McVay rejoins 49ers front office
Posted: Thursday October 22, 1998 11:27 AM
SANTA CLARA, California (AP) -- The 49ers reached into their past to try to calm their front-office turbulence.
John McVay, a front-office presence in San Francisco for 17 years, came out of retirement Wednesday to work as a special assistant to interim club president Larry Thrailkill.
"It's nice to have him," coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's going to be another person we can use to keep this thing steady as she goes."
The 67-year-old McVay, the team's general manager under former coaches Bill Walsh and George Seifert, retired in 1996. He's back on a temporary basis, probably about six months, and he's expected to serve as an adviser on football and league matters to Thrailkill, an NFL neophyte.
"I'm a 49er and when they said, 'Hey, we need some help,' I'm there. I'm available. I'm glad to do it," said McVay. "My role is to assist Larry Thrailkill in whatever he deems necessary. I'll do anything but cover kicks."
Thrailkill, a corporate lawyer and the chief operating officer for the team's nominal owner, the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., assumed the team presidency in July when Carmen Policy quit to join Al Lerner's successful bid for the Cleveland Browns expansion franchise.
Last week, the club's executive vice president, Dwight Clark, appeared ready to follow Policy and go to work for the Browns after his request to be promoted to 49ers team president was rebuffed.
But the league intervened to block Clark's move after Thrailkill raised the issue of tampering during a meeting with commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Under the league's anti-tampering policy, no team can talk to an employee of another team about a job during the season.
The 49ers now say Clark will remain with the team through the rest of this season though rumors persist that he will leave to take a job with the new Browns as soon as possible.
McVay said he doesn't have a "solid feel" for whether Clark will still be with the 49ers six months from now.
The 49ers search for a permanent team president is ongoing.
Neither Clark nor Thrailkill was available for comment Wednesday.
Complicating matters has been the team's uncertain ownership status.
Eddie DeBartolo and his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, each own a 45 percent share of the 49ers through their holdings in the family-held corporation.
Eddie DeBartolo ceded control of the franchise to his sister last December when he was linked to a Louisiana gambling fraud probe. He has since pleaded guilty to failure to report a felony crime, was assessed $1 million in penalties and placed on two years probation.
With his legal problems resolved, Eddie DeBartolo hopes to regain control of the team. Tagliabue has said no action will be taken on DeBartolo's request until after this season and only after the league reviews the matter.
McVay said the team will conduct its business as usual in the coming months but the long-term stability of the franchise depends on DeBartolo's return.
"First and foremost, the most important thing is to have Eddie back running the team and that will be whenever the league and the owners address that," McVay said. "From that point on, I think they'll be looking at hiring a president, and then you're ready to go.
"Hopefully, it's moving in the right direction. For the good of this franchise and for the good of the city of San Francisco, let's all say our prayers that Eddie is reinstated as the owner with full authority."
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