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McKay expects lots of interest


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New to the boards, hello all!

Good read, sorry if already posted.

McKay expects lots of interest


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 12/13/07

Flowery Branch Despite the 13-game Bobby Petrino era, Falcons president and general manger Rich McKay would not rule out hiring another coach from the college ranks.

"First of all, you eliminate no one," McKay said Wednesday. "Secondly, you pay attention to history. I think the college coaches have been the exception as opposed to the rule. I think some of them have been exceptional. I don't want to sit there and say, 'Boy, we don't want to go down that path.' "

The Falcons must follow NFL hiring practices, which includes a mandate to interview minority candidates. There are also rules about interviewing coaches on teams in the playoffs.

"I think the NFL has done a nice job in their process rules, in slowing the process down," McKay said. "Last year, we felt as a group that we had a candidate that was moving to the head of the line and we hired Bobby. This year, we'll go through the same process, but we will hope that it ends up with somebody who will be with us for a long time."

Last season, the Falcons were able to land Petrino in part because they had quarterback Michael Vick, who now is in prison after being convicted on charges related to dogfighting.

The Falcons were in the middle of turning over their roster to fit Petrino's schemes. Despite not having an established quarterback and a roster in tatters, McKay still believes he has an attractive position to offer.

"Coaches want to coach in the National Football League," McKay said. "With an owner such as Arthur [blank], who's willing to give you the support necessary, the facilities necessary, I don't even think it's an issue if coaches will want to coach in this situation. I think that there's no question that when you look at it, that it's different than last year."

Hadley Engelhard, a longtime Atlanta-based sports agent, believe the Falcons will attract some top candidates.

"What makes Atlanta attractive is the city of Atlanta and the fact that you've got a great owner in Arthur Blank, who wants to do what it takes to win," Engelhard said.

The Falcons do not have a list of candidates, although former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher and San Francisco assistant head coach Mike Singletary are viewed as top candidates.

"You can go up in my office right now and look at the number of pink slips from messages, and there's some unique names on those messages," McKay said. "There will be [a lot of interest] because it is a privilege to work in the league. I think that our opportunity will be as good as any."

It's possible the next coach will want more control over personnel issues, and that's fine with McKay.

"When I was in Tampa, we tried to hire Jimmy Johnson," McKay said. "When I went to hire Jimmy, I said, 'You can have everything. Everything you want, you can control everything there is, because you've earned the right and that's the appropriate place for you to be.' He didn't take the job."

McKay said the Buccaneers also offered Steve Spurrier similar control and noted that he would do so for the proper candidate for the Falcons job.

McKay played a role in hiring Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. He recommended Marvin Lewis as Dungy's replacement, but was overruled by ownership.

In Atlanta, he's played a role in passing on Lovie Smith and hiring Jim Mora and hiring Petrino.

"Sometimes there are names floated about, people who are just not available," Blank said. "Vince Lombardi is gone. He's not here."

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