Contra Costa Times

McVay not changing mind about retiring
January 17, 2003
49ers notebook

SANTA CLARA -- John McVay, the 49ers vice president of football operations, is unsure how his name got dragged into all the scuttlebutt surrounding Steve Mariucci's firing Wednesday as 49ers coach. McVay, however, is sure about something else. "I'm planning to retire," McVay said of his plans when his contract expires May 1.

McVay, 72, has worked in the 49ers front office for much of the past 23 years, including a span from 1979-95 before returning in 1998 to help the 49ers recover from their salary cap woes.

"John McVay's value to this organization over the years -- the guy ought to go in the Hall of Fame," Mariucci said. "He's a fantastic employee. He's done so much for this team and for me."

Mariucci's desire to replace McVay pending his retirement is what 49ers owner John York claimed Wednesday as the key philosophical difference that led to Mariucci's firing.

Why Mariucci would have wanted to take on McVay's current role is somewhat a mystery. McVay said negotiating contracts and maneuvering within the salary cap are his main roles -- which he shares with salary cap coordinator Dominic Corsell. Mariucci said Thursday that he would have taken McVay's job if the club asked him to do so, even though, "obviously, I don't want any part of doing contracts."

McVay said Mariucci never approached him about someday succeeding him. "We've never had that discussion," McVay said. "We're not that big of a company. When things need to be done, we do it. 'You take care of this, you take care of that.' ...We're not a great, huge company, so people have a voice in things."

McVay said he planned on retiring a year ago until York asked him to reconsider, and he's since commuted from his Granite Bay home three days a week. A request to interview York went unanswered.

Mora waits

Defensive coordinator Jim Mora showed up for work as usual at the 49ers facility, but he still isn't sure if he'll be keeping his job or possibly moving down the hall to the corner office reserved for the head coach. General manager Terry Donahue said Wednesday he would speak individually with Mariucci's assistants to gauge their interest in the post.

"I think he's working through it right now. There are a lot of people and a lot is going on," Mora said. "He's obviously very swamped right now. We all understand."

Mora may be the top in-house candidate, having strengthened a young defense, although injuries in the secondary put a crimp on that unit's effectiveness this season. Mora's father -- also named Jim Mora -- served as head coach of the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

"I'd like to see him have that great opportunity," linebacker Julian Peterson said of the younger Mora. "Once you grow up with (a father who was an NFL coach), you probably want to beat your father's statistics and be the ultimate one. If he does that, he'll pretty much be the senior instead of the junior."

Tollner on list?

Another member of Mariucci's staff, quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner, may be drawing serious interest. An Internet report on cited league sources naming Tollner as Donahue's preferred candidate, perhaps as a one-year, fill-in role until the team pursues a higher-profile coach.

Carroll off list

USC coach Pete Carroll, the 49ers defensive coordinator from 1995-96, told the Los Angeles Times he's not interested in replacing Mariucci. "I'm really happy staying here, and this is my place. I haven't heard anything at all (from the 49ers), and, really, I don't expect to," Carroll said Wednesday. "There was a time when I would have thought that would have been the best job in the world for me, until I realized how much fun I have here and how much I like being at the university."

Green party

While former Stanford and Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green said Wednesday he's interested in becoming the 49ers coach, wide receiver Terrell Owens probably isn't fond of that prospect. Green criticized Owens for his Sharpie-signing incident in Seattle this past season, and Owens responded by telling ESPN The Magazine: "Who is Dennis Green to say that, when he couldn't control Randy Moss?"

-- Cam Inman

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