- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2003

A day after Steve Spurrier’s departure as head coach of the Washington Redskins, many football fans were “glad he quit” as leader of a “sorry” team, but they reserved most of their criticism for team owner Dan Snyder.

“I’m glad he quit,” LamoneGarvin, 43, of Bowie said yesterday of the maligned head coach who rode into town on the glories of his “fun ‘n’ gun” offense at the University of Florida. “Snyder needs to hire a disciplinarian-type, like a Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells, someone who will take control of the locker room.”

Johnson, of course, led the hated Dallas Cowboys to twoSuper Bowl titles a decade ago and Parcells this year led the Cowboys into the playoffs while the Redskins are heading home after a 5-11 campaign.

Spurrier was hired amid great fanfare Jan. 14, 2002, the team’s fourth head coach since Mr. Snyder bought the team in 1999. Spurrier replaced Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired despite winning eight of his final 11 games in the 2001 season.

Spurrier resigned Tuesday morning, having lost 20 of 32 games as an NFL head coach.

The revolving-door status of the coaching position was not lost on the fans, who said failing to settle on a coach has hurt the team’s solidarity.

“It was no consistency with them,” Mr. Garvin. “That’s why I stopped going to the games. They’re sorry.”

Mr. Garvin, who works in the technology field, also laid blame on Mr. Snyder for the team’s lack of cohesiveness. “Snyder was definitely part of the problem. He needs a good consultant for football-related decisions, because he doesn’t have good football sense,” he said.

Tim Hathaway, who moved from San Francisco to the District, said Mr. Snyder’s priorities have been detrimental.

“I’ve been here in D.C. since 1992, and it’s been one debacle after another with this team,” he said. “Snyder doesn’t care what happens [football-wise]. He’s a businessman, and the franchise is one of the most profitable in sports. But it’s his toy, and he can do whatever he wants with it.”

And what’s Mr. Hathaway’s solution?

“They need a coach who’s feared and respected,” he said. “They haven’t really had one since Joe Gibbs. Spurrier wasn’t. Schottenheimer was, but who wants to watch a 9-6 game?”

Vincent Shippy, a D.C. resident since 1988, agreed that Mr. Snyder’s penchant for making a profit has interfered with the team’s success.

“Snyder should keep his hands in the business aspect of the organization and let the coach do his job. It’s too much micromanaging going on. Unfortunately, I don’t see a new coach making that much of a difference. It takes more than that to turn a team around. I’m sorry, but I see the Redskins not being good for another couple of years.”

Dave Albertini, 40, of Rockville, a computer analyst and longtime Redskins fan, said that while he was disappointed with Spurrier’s leaving, he realizes that Spurrier may have been overwhelmed by opposing offenses.

“We need a defense-oriented coach, because our defense stinks. We should bring in a Jimmy Johnson or a Marvin Lewis. We never should have let him go,” he said of Lewis, the former Redskins defensive coordinator who turned around the moribund Cincinnati Bengals this season.

As for Mr. Snyder’s role in the team’s performance, “Who knows unless you were there [in the locker room]? But I would imagine [he was problematic], since there’s been [four] coaches in the past few years,” Mr. Albertini said.


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