WASHINGTON (AP) -Jim Fassel has become a top candidate for the Washington Redskins coaching job after a third interview with owner Dan Snyder.
The former New York Giants coach met with Snyder on Monday, according to a person familiar with the selection process. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Redskins haven't publicly stated the names of any candidates.
The person said Fassel is also the previously unidentified candidate who interviewed with the owner on Jan. 11 and 12.
Fassel was also a strong contender for the Redskins job in 2004, but all candidates were eclipsed when Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs decided to come out of retirement.
Gibbs resigned two weeks ago, and Snyder has interviewed five potential successors: Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora, Redskins assistant Gregg Williams and Fassel.
Mora withdrew his name from consideration last week. Williams has met with Snyder four times and offered the best scenario of continuity for a team coming off a playoff season, but the fiery assistant was unsuccessful during his only stint as a head coach with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03.
While the coaching search continued, the Redskins solidified their front office structure Tuesday by adding the word ``executive'' to Vinny Cerrato's title, making him the executive vice president of football operations. The team said Cerrato will assume responsibility for all aspects of the team's football organization, including the roster, scouting and salary cap management.
The move appears to offer a hint the next coach will have a less influential role than Gibbs, who also served as team president and often consulted with Snyder and Cerrato on equal footing. The Redskins have functioned without a general manager since Snyder bought the team in 1999.
Fassel, 58, took the Giants to the Super Bowl following the 2000 season and went 60-56-1, including 2-3 in the playoffs, during seven seasons in New York. He was the AP's NFL coach of the year in 1997, when he led the Giants to an 11-5-1 record as a rookie head coach.
Fassel was fired following a 4-12 season in 2003 and became a senior consultant to the Baltimore Ravens staff in 2004. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2005 but was fired in October 2006 in a midseason shake-up by coach Brian Billick when the Ravens were struggling offensively.
Although he has frequently been mentioned as a coaching candidate for several teams and has had multiple interviews, Fassel spent this season away from the sideline, working as an analyst for CBS Radio Sports/Westwood One.
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