Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In a NEW YORK State of MIND; Former Jaguars Coach Becomes Head Giant

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In a NEW YORK State of MIND; Former Jaguars Coach Becomes Head Giant

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO, The Times-Union

Eleven years after rejecting the New York Giants' head coaching job, former Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin was given a second chance Tuesday at one of the most highly-visible positions in the NFL.

The Giants announced that Coughlin has signed a deal to replace Jim Fassel as the head coach of what is often called the flagship franchise of the NFL.

"I am looking forward to working with these players and re-establishing the New York Giants tradition of physically controlling the line of scrimmage," Coughlin said in a statement issued by the team. "We want to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, eliminate the disease of turnovers and control field position of special teams."

The Giants will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. today to formally introduce their new coach.

Although Coughlin verbally accepted the offer Tuesday, the announcement was delayed while his agent, Gary O'Hagan of IMG, haggled over the fine print of a four-year, $12 million contract.

O'Hagan also represents several other coaches, including Jack Del Rio of the Jaguars.

Coughlin was the choice over three assistant coaches who were interviewed last week -- Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis of the Patriots and Lovie Smith of the Rams.

The interviews with Crennel and Smith fulfilled the minority interview requirements. But neither has head coaching experience and neither would be available until his team is eliminated from the playoffs.

By contrast, Coughlin is a proven winner on both the college and pro levels, is available now and can begin putting together a staff immediately.

John Mara, the team's executive vice president, said of Coughlin: "He has experience as a successful head coach at the college and NFL levels, and he is going to bring an intensity and focus and a commitment to winning."

John Pease, Coughlin's defensive coordinator in 2002, endorsed the Giants' decision.

"Tom's a real good fit in New York because he's a New York guy,'' Pease said. "He's not fluffy and flowery, but he's a good old-time coach, which is not very fashionable these days."

When Coughlin turned down the Giants job in 1993 after Ray Handley was fired, he wanted total control of the organization. His mentor, Bill Parcells, now the Dallas Cowboys' coach, advised him to seek control.

Coughlin stayed at Boston College another year and then was hired in 1994 by the Jaguars, who gave him the total control that he wanted.

In Jacksonville, Coughlin even decided on the color of the paint on the walls. But he said he doesn't need that in New York.

"I don't need to draw the line. I can certainly work in an organization that has a division of labor," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Coughlin built the best expansion team in NFL history, going to the playoffs four times with the Jaguars and to the AFC title game twice from 1996 to 1999. …

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