49ers drop Pats' Crennel from the list
February 05, 2003
Kevin Lynch, Chronicle Staff Writer
The 49ers are inching forward in their search for a head coach by eliminating one candidate and possibly throwing the job open to college coaches.
General manager Terry Donahue removed Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel from contention and will bring in three other defensive coordinators -- the Jets' Ted Cottrell, the Bears' Greg Blache and the 49ers' Jim Mora Jr. -- for a second interview.
Cottrell arrives today to tour the 49ers' facilities and then will meet with owner John York either today or Thursday. Blache is expected to come to Santa Clara on Friday.
Donahue will look hard at the college ranks after high school and JC players sign letters of intent today.
"I am very familiar with the college head coaches and expect to turn some of my attention to a limited number of candidates," Donahue said in a statement.
Rumors of USC coach Pete Carroll's interest became so intense, the school released a statement from Carroll saying he was staying. Carroll suggested rival programs were floating the rumors to interfere with his recruiting efforts.
"Anyone who continues to say that (I'm available) is only trying to make us look bad," Carroll said. "But I understand that we're having a great recruiting year and they're trying to beat us."
Meanwhile, Cottrell said he was pleased to get to the next stage. "It's an honor," he said. Mora and Blache could not be reached for comment.
Should Cottrell take the job, it would be another increase in pay for him. He signed a two-year extension with the Jets on Friday that bumped him from $425,000 a year to about $600,000. The 49ers are said to be offering in the $1. 2 million-$1.5 million range annually.
Prospects for Mora improved when the 49ers denied the Seahawks permission to talk to him for their defensive-coordinator job.
Mora already has interviewed for the Panthers' defensive-coordinator position and probably will take that job if he is not promoted to 49ers head coach.
Blache is a highly volatile and colorful coach known to challenge reporters who don't get their facts straight. He also is steeped in military history and is known to have a hard edge.
Insiders believe the longer the process drags, the more Mora becomes an attractive candidate. Even though Raiders coach Bill Callahan wasn't hired until March 12, he came from within the organization and with the staff already intact.
When Bucs coach Jon Gruden was hired Feb. 18, he came to an already established staff. The 49ers need coaches for the defensive line, linebackers, wide receivers and special teams, and also probably need a defensive coordinator. The team also has not signed tight ends coach Tom Batta or running backs coach Tom Rathman.
Rathman, for one, wants the opportunity to meet the new coach before signing his traditional one-year contract.
"We have been and will continue to be thorough in our approach because I feel it is the only way to find the best coach for our players, our fans and our organization," Donahue's statement read.
All three coaches could bring in interesting candidates for assistants. It's possible Cottrell could take Jets defensive line coach Rubin Carter for the same job with the 49ers. Carter is the father of 49ers defensive end Andre Carter.
Another Cottrell favorite is former Jets wide receivers coach Mose Rison, who helped develop mercurial Laveranues Coles.
BRIEFLY: Equipment manager Kevin Lartique has resigned to join Mariucci in Detroit as an assistant to the head coach. "Tique," as he is known, turned down a two-year deal from the 49ers to join the Lions. "John York made me feel good with a generous offer," Lartique said. "He also said I was an asset and that the team was going to miss me." Lartique wants to get into sports management. Assistant equipment manager Steve Urbaniak will replace him. . . . Vice president of business development David Goldman has resigned.
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