Cowboys to name Phillips new head coach

Cowboys to name Phillips new head coach

Cowboys to name Phillips new head coach
ESPN.com

Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells ... Cowboys fans have been waiting for the next big name to lead a storied franchise. They might be surprised by the answer.

League and Cowboys sources have told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be named Dallas' head coach. Phillips traveled from San Diego to Dallas on Wednesday night after being told that he was their choice to replace the now-retired Parcells.

While contract details must still be worked out and a contract signed, a formal team announcement for Phillips could come as early as Thursday.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had reportedly been torn between hiring a defensive- or offensive-minded coach. Choosing Phillips answers that question and addresses issues with Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. The Cowboys have been running a 3-4 defense while Rivera is the architect of Chicago's successful 4-3 scheme. Phillips has had great success with the 3-4 defense throughout his career and helped the Chargers to a 14-2 regular-season record in 2006.

San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner was widely regarded as the front-runner for the Cowboys job. The hiring of former Cowboys quarterback Jason Garrett might have doomed his candidacy. Garrett's role has not been formally defined, but he will likely be named Dallas' offensive coordinator. Turner is considered one of the premier play-callers in the league, and Jones might not have wanted to impede Garrett, who reportedly impressed the Cowboys owner in their interview.

Phillips spent much of Tuesday contacting coaches he wants to hire as assistants if he gets the Dallas job, sources told ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli.

"It would be an overstatement to say he's putting together a staff," one source said. "But he was just touching base with his guys, updating them as to where he thinks things stand, and trying to hold [potential staffers] together. He is still in the hunt."

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell became the 10th candidate to interview for a vacancy created when Parcells opted to retire on Jan. 21. Phillips interviewed for the job on Jan. 26.

Caldwell met with Jones and his son Stephen for more than six hours Wednesday and said he expected a decision to be made in "short order."

"I had a great time," Caldwell said of his interview for the Cowboys' head coaching vacancy. "I learned a lot about the organization."

In head coaching stints with Denver (1993-94) and Buffalo (1998-2000), Phillips compiled a 45-38 record, including the playoffs, and led his teams to three wild-card berths. He also served stints as interim head coach at New Orleans in 1985 and Atlanta in 2003.

Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.


       

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