- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2008

New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo surprised the Washington Redskins today by pulling out of their coaching search.

  • Check the Redskins 360 blog for updates.

    That leaves former Giants coach Jim Fassel, former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks as the remaining candidates to succeed Joe Gibbs, who retired on Jan. 8.

    Fassel, who had been considered the frontrunner from the time former Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg WIlliams fell out of favor two weeks ago until the Giants’ triumph in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday night, could be No. 1 on Snyder’s list again.

    Fassel, 58, hasn’t been a head coach since being fired following the 2003 season after compiling a 60-56-1 record in seven seasons with the Giants. Fassel has been out of the league since being fired as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens during the 2006 season.

    Mariucci, 52, has been out of the league since being fired by the Lions during the 2005 season. He was 60-43 in six seasons with the 49ers, 15-28 in two-plus years in Detroit.

    Meeks, 53, has never been a head coach. He has run the Colts’ defense for six years, including the 2006 Super Bowl-winning season. He’s the only minority candidate.

    The 48-year-old Spagnuolo had been considered the favorite for the job since his defense shut down the vaunted New England Patriots’ offense in leading the Giants to a 17-14 upset of New England in Super Bowl XLII. That performance had drawn raves from Snyder as recently as Tuesday.

    Spagnuolo had met with Snyder and Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato for roughly 20 hours from Tuesday night through Wednesday night before he headed home to New Jersey. They also had a 90-minute phone conversation on Monday night.

    But after talking to his wife Maria, Spagnuolo opted to withdraw his name from consideration. Spagnuolo told Snyder that the Redskins were a first-class organization, but that his heart remains with the Giants, whom he believes can repeat as Super Bowl champions. He also is contemplating a proposal from the Giants that sources said would include a contract extension, a generous raise and perhaps an assistant head coach title.

    Another source said the Redskins and Spagnuolo mutually concluded that after just a year as a coordinator, he’s a year or two away from being ready to be a head coach.

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