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McKay with Bucs -- for now -- as hunt for coach begins again

Whether he stays or leaves, GM will have a greatly reduced role in the hiring process.

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2002


TAMPA -- The Bucs are back to square one in their search for a coach but don't expect general manager Rich McKay to be conducting it this time.

McKay was still reeling Saturday after the last-minute refusal Friday by team vice presidents Joel and Ed Glazer to allow him to extend the head-coaching offer to Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. McKay is not expected to make a decision on his future with the team until Monday at the earliest.

McKay, who has one year left on his contract that will pay him about $1.8-million in 2002, refused to sign a contract extension Jan. 14 and has kept his options open.

New Falcons owner Arthur Blank has McKay at the top of his list for general manager. But that would represent a lateral move for McKay, and the Glazers aren't expected to grant any team permission to talk to him.

Because of the way the Glazers undercut McKay with Lewis, speculation is that he may resign. But the Bucs could prevent him from working until 2003, and McKay would forfeit his salary.

"I think Rich understands that this is a business, and Rich understands he works for the owner, as we all do," Bucs director of public relations Reggie Roberts said.

It's clear the Glazers will be looking for an offensive-minded coach in the next round of interviews, which could last another two weeks, Roberts said.

The Glazers are expected to make another run at Bill Parcells, but team officials do not expect to be able to lure the Super Bowl-winning coach out of retirement.

Among the coaches the Bucs may consider are Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Eagles quarterbacks coach Brad Childress, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and Steelers quarterback coach Tom Clements.

Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was not a serious candidate despite interviewing with McKay in Tampa two weeks ago. But the Glazers may want to evaluate Mularkey themselves.

If the Bucs turn to the college ranks, Washington's Rick Neuheisel and Oregon's Mike Belotti would top the list of offensive innovators. It's unclear if the Bucs will consider defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who said he has not been asked to interview for the position. Kiffin and new Colts coach Tony Dungy denied published reports last week that their relationship had changed since the Bucs fired dungy Jan. 14.

Whatever the Glazers do, it's clear McKay will have a greatly reduced role in hiring the next coach -- assuming he remains with the team.

"I don't think this is the first time a general manager recommended a head coach that the owners didn't approve of in the history of the league," Roberts said. "I don't think it's that big of a deal."

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