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Jauron hired as Bears head coach
Posted: Monday January 25, 1999 08:58 AM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- This time, the Chicago Bears made sure they had a deal before announcing their new coach.
Dick Jauron, the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars, agreed to contract terms late Saturday, team spokesman Bryan Harlan said. The move came less than 12 hours after Dave McGinnis flew home to Phoenix, still upset that team president Michael McCaskey had announced his hiring before they had an agreement.
Jauron will be introduced at a Sunday news conference. He succeeds Dave Wannstedt, fired almost four weeks ago. The hiring also closes out an active offseason, in which nine NFL teams changed coaches and the expansion Cleveland Browns brought in their first.
"I was very impressed with Dick when he came in for his interview and thought he would make an outstanding head coach," McCaskey said in a statement. "He is an excellent teacher and is regarded as one of the more innovative coaches in the NFL.
"He's excited about the opportunity to coach this team and lead us back to the playoffs," McCaskey added. "I'm confident he'll do a great job."
Jauron's hiring caps an embarrassing two days for the bumbling Bears. The team called a Friday afternoon news conference to introduce McGinnis, the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator and a former Chicago assistant, as their new coach. They even updated their voice mail to say, "You have reached the office of head coach David McGinnis."
But there was one big problem: McGinnis hadn't been offered the job yet.
"That was an internal foul-up," McCaskey said earlier Saturday at a news conference after McGinnis left. "We made a mistake on that."
He refused to explain any further.
"We didn't intend for it to happen," he said. "It's something we did internally and I don't want to get into it. We made a mistake, and I don't want to go into detail about it."
McGinnis was upset about the premature announcements and called off talks Friday afternoon. The team had to first delay and then cancel the planned news conference to interview him.
Team chairman Ed McCaskey, a personal friend of McGinnis and his wife, Kim, even called McGinnis on Friday night to try and smooth things over. But after another meeting with Michael McCaskey on Saturday morning, McGinnis withdrew his name and left town.
"It's very sad for me," McGinnis told reporters at O'Hare Airport. "Again, I want to express, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Bears are very, very special. Obviously, we just couldn't reach an agreement. That's all I can say."
The disagreement had nothing to do with money or the contract.
"I don't care to go into it now and probably never will. It's between me and Dave," McCaskey said. "These things happen. Sometimes, they are a pathway to consideration of other things and that's what happened in this case."
McCaskey moved quickly to repair the damage. He got in touch with potential coaches as soon as McGinnis left and said at 6:30 p.m. CST he hoped to get something done "very quickly."
Three hours later, the Bears announced Jauron's hiring.
"We have some repair work to do with the fans," admitted McCaskey, a former professor at the Harvard Business School who once wrote a book called, "The Executive Challenge: Managing Change and Ambiguity."
"I think getting the right man is a key step in the process," McCaskey said earlier Saturday. "And we'll get him."
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