- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

The Washington Redskins fired coach Marty Schottenheimer last night and reached an agreement to hire Steve Spurrier as their new coach.
All that remains now for the Redskins, who spent the past week in limbo after finishing with an 8-8 record in Schottenheimer's first season, is the hiring of a general manager. Former Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard or former Green Bay Packers General Manager Ron Wolf are the two most likely candidates to assume Schottenheimer's duties as director of football operations.
Schottenheimer departs after missing the playoffs for just the fourth time in his 15 full seasons as an NFL head coach, and also after winning over the vast majority of his players and largely fixing the salary-cap problems he inherited.
In a statement, the Redskins said Schottenheimer was fired because he refused to relinquish control of the personnel department control that was guaranteed to Schottenheimer in his contract. He will receive the full $7.5 million he is owed over the final three years of his contract.
ESPN reported the terms of a deal in principle with Spurrier at five years, $25 million, but that could not be confirmed last night.
The Carolina Panthers were the only other serious contender for the services of Spurrier, the former University of Florida coach. The Redskins had the edge because they have more talent in place the Panthers went 1-15 this season and because owner Daniel Snyder made the highest bid. Carolina began to turn to other candidates last night, making plans to interview Bill Parcells and New York Giants defensive coordinator John Fox, sources said.
In recent days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers also were considered potential suitors for Spurrier.
Spurrier, the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner his senior year at Florida, returned to his alma mater as coach in 1990 and was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, when he led the Gators to a 9-2 record. In 1991, he led the school to its first of six SEC titles. Florida won the national title in 1996. After a 56-23 victory over Maryland in the Orange Bowl earlier this month, Spurrier resigned as Florida's winningest coach with a 122-27-1 mark.
Spurrier already contacted coaches who might join his staff in Washington, sources said. Two candidates are Jon Hoke, Spurrier's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Florida, and Jim Collins, his linebackers and special teams coach there.
Spurrier will be the Redskins' fourth coach in the 21/2 years Snyder has owned the team. Snyder fired coach Norv Turner in December 2000 and replaced him on an interim basis with Terry Robiskie. He hired Schottenheimer on Jan. 3, 2001.
Snyder, who paid an NFL record $800 million for the Redskins and gave cornerback Deion Sanders an $8 million signing bonus, long sought Spurrier, whose offensive mind was as respected as any in the college game. Snyder pursued Spurrier before hiring Schottenheimer last year Spurrier rejected an offer that included a $3 million salary and another $3 million in incentives and attempted to contact him when Washington started 0-5 this year.
Redskins representatives met with Spurrier in recent days, a follow-up to a phone conversation early last week.
Snyder and Schottenheimer met early in the day without resolution and then reconvened at night. The buyout occurred after several meetings last week.
Schottenheimer said he thoroughly enjoyed his return to the game this year and might coach elsewhere next season. However, his new club likely would need to give the Redskins draft-pick compensation. The Redskins surrendered a pair of third-round picks to the Kansas CityChiefs for Schottenheimer.
Snyder initially hoped to pressure Schottenheimer into a buyout early last week by threatening to hire a general manager. Schottenheimer agreed to consider working with a general manager, but none of Snyder's top candidates would join the club without the full power that traditionally comes with the job.

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