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Philbin met Wednesday for a second interview with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland, who admired the way the coach dealt with the family tragedy.

“You find out what a person is all about in times like that,” Ross said. “He’s a strong person, a family person. He has a lot to look forward to. I think this opportunity and change of scenery is probably great for him.”

Ross said Philbin reminds him of the only coach to lead Miami to a Super Bowl, Hall of Famer Don Shula. Philbin played a significant role in the development of Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and helped the Packers rank in the top 10 in the NFL in yardage each of the past five seasons.

They won the Super Bowl a year ago and went 15-1 this season.

“When I first met Diane Philbin today, she said something I took to heart,” Ross said. “She said, `You hired Joe to win, because that’s what he’s all about.’ I think that sums it up.”

Not that Philbin was the Dolphins‘ first choice. Jeff Fisher turned them down a week ago to become coach of the St. Louis Rams.

With a coach finally in place, Ross couldn’t resist taking a jab at Fisher.

“We interviewed six people in person,” Ross said. “With the exception of one, they were all excited about wanting to lead the Miami Dolphins.”

Ross fired Tony Sparano last month with three games to go in his fourth year as coach. The Dolphins finished 6-10, their third consecutive losing season, and haven’t won a playoff game since 2000.

Philbin becomes Miami’s seventh coach _ including two interim coaches _ in the past eight years. Ross is desperate for some stability, which sounds good to Philbin.

“I’m 50 years old,” the coach said. “I anticipate this being the last job I ever take.”

When the news conference ended, Philbin posed for photos holding a Dolphins helmet and wearing a smile. Off to the side, his wife thought of their late son and fought back tears.

Michael’s looking down,” she said. “And Michael’s happy.”