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Coughlin era ends


(Dec. 30)--Owner Wayne Weaver expects to hire a new head coach within the next month, or sooner, but the Jaguars' next head coach will not enjoy the same total-control powers Tom Coughlin had.

Weaver said he asked Coughlin "to step down as coach of the Jaguars" this morning, following Sunday's loss in Indianapolis, which ended a 6-10 season that was the Jaguars' third consecutive losing year.

"This is a particularly tough day for me. I want to thank Tom publicly. Any decision Tom ever made was made in the best interests of this football team," Weaver added.

The Jaguars owner claimed his decision was not based totally on wins and losses, and though he hinted he was seeking someone with a better feel for the marketing of the franchise, Weaver adamantly denied he fired Coughlin because of fan criticism.

"Did the e-mails and fan response to Tom Coughlin affect this decision? Absolutely not," Weaver said.

"It's not all about wins and losses. There's a point at which you say we need innovative ideas and fresh approaches," Weaver added. "In my heart it's the right decision."

It would seem the key to Weaver's "fresh approaches" concept will involve the re-structuring of the Jaguars' personnel department. "We definitely will have more input with the coach on the personnel side," Weaver said.

And the personnel side of the franchise certainly holds the key to the team's recovery. Weaver acknowledged as much.

"I think we've got a lot of changes to make to get back to competing at the highest level. I'm optimistic we're going to start rebuilding this football team. We've got a lot of holes to fill," he said.

When asked directly if he will hire a general manager, Weaver said that decision hasn't been made.

"It's a new day. We're going to do things differently," he added. "I think we're going to be able to attract the brightest and best minds out there.

"We need someone who sees the big picture," Weaver said of what he wants in his next head coach. "I'm looking for a bright mind; not only a football person, but a person who sees the big picture."

In the Jaguars' case, the big picture would seem to pertain to ticket sales, which have declined since 1999, when the Jaguars had the best record in the league, 14-2. Weaver would like to find a head coach who can translate winning on the field into popularity in the community. First, of course, the Jaguars will have to start winning, again.

Weaver said he will not consider Bill Parcells or Jimmy Johnson for the head coaching vacancy, but might seek Johnson's advice on candidates for the position.

"Clearly, NFL experience is a plus on the resume," Weaver said.

"After this press conference, we're not going to look back. We're only going to look forward," he added.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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