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Redskins hire Zorn as head coach

Redskins hire Zorn as head coach

Redskins hire Zorn as head coach

Ashburn, VA (Sports Network) - The Washington Redskins have decided to name just-hired offensive coordinator Jim Zorn their new head coach, replacing the legendary Joe Gibbs, who retired in January.

Only two weeks after hiring Zorn away from the Seahawks to be their offensive coordinator, the Redskins announced Saturday that they had promoted the former quarterback to head coach, and signed him to a five-year contract.

"I've always dreamed of being a head coach with a franchise rich in tradition, like the Redskins," Zorn said. "As a player who had to fight Redskins teams ... I know about the history of this franchise as well as the passion of its fans."

Zorn, 54, spent the past seven seasons as quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks. Prior to that he held the same post for the Detroit Lions from 1998-2000. His first NFL coaching job came in 1997 as an offensive assistant in Seattle, where he spent nine of his 11 seasons in the league as a quarterback.

The hire ends a whirlwind month-long coaching search that has seen two odds-on favorites for the Redskins job be passed over by owner Daniel Snyder. When Gibbs retired for the second time in January after Washington's wild card round loss to Zorn's Seahawks in the playoffs, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was considered the favorite to replace Gibbs.

After several interviews, however, Snyder apparently soured on Williams, who was fired along with offensive coordinator Al Saunders on January 26. Snyder announced the hiring of Zorn as offensive coordinator and promoted defensive assistant Greg Blache to defensive coordinator that same day.

Former Giants head coach Jim Fassel then became the prospective favorite to earn the job, despite a flirtation with Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Indianapolis Colts assistant Ron Meeks also interviewed several times for the position. Steve Mariucci, Jim Mora Jr. and Pete Carroll were other high-profile names reportedly considered for the job.

Spagnuolo became a hot commodity after the Giants defense carried the team to a 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl, and he met with Redskins officials last week. The first-year coordinator elected to stay with the Giants, however, who gave him a hefty raise.

After Spagnuolo passed on the job, the path appeared clear for Fassel, but in a surprise move, Snyder opted to promote Zorn to the head coaching job.

"We're proud that our search was diligent, thorough, and resulted in today's announcement," said Snyder. "Jim's track record and reputation as a player, great teacher, and as a coach makes us confident that they will translate to success for the Redskins."

As a player, Zorn threw for 21,115 yards with 111 touchdowns and 141 interceptions in 11 seasons with the Seahawks, Packers, and Buccaneers. He entered the league in 1976 as the first quarterback for the expansion Seahawks, and earned NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors that season.

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