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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Coaching carousel moves into high gear

Associated Press


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Mike Tice couldn't stop the off-the-field embarrassments from piling up in Minnesota. Dom Capers couldn't stop the terrible losses from dragging down Houston.

Tice and Capers became the NFL's first postseason coaching casualties yesterday in what could be a year of major offseason changes.

Less than an hour after the Vikings beat Chicago 34-10, Minnesota announced that Tice's contract would not be renewed by owner Zygi Wilf.

After Houston lost in San Francisco, a person close to the Texans organization told The Associated Press that Capers would be fired after a 2-14 season, but that general manager Charley Casserly will be retained.

The official announcement will come today, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

There are likely to be more.

There were only three new coaches this season and vacancies tend to even out. Since the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1970, there have been an average of nearly six vacancies a year, meaning that changes could exceed that number.

There are now four: Detroit's Steve Mariucci was fired Nov. 28 and 69-year-old Dick Vermeil of the Chiefs retired after yesterday's game.

Several others finished the season unsure of their futures.

"The things you don't have control over, you don't worry about," Green Bay's Mike Sherman said after his Packers beat Seattle's backups, 23-17, to finish at 4-12.

Others in trouble include Norv Turner of Oakland and Mike Martz of St. Louis, who has been on medical leave.

Turner said yesterday he would like to know as soon as possible whether he will be fired he still has a year left on his contract, worth about $1.75 million.

Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson, whose Bills finished 5-11, said yesterday there will be changes in his team's organization, has indicated coach Mike Mularkey's job appears to be safe. However, team president Tom Donahoe could be out.

There also has been speculation Bill Parcells might step down in Dallas, but Parcells has not addressed his future.

The list of potential successors in all cases starts with two successful college coaches with NFL experience: Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Southern California's Pete Carroll, both of whom got contract extensions at their schools.

Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, also a former NFL assistant, is likely to get overtures, and so is Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, who could be one of the candidates to replace Vermeil.