The Press Democrat

McVay says this time he really plans to retire
January 17, 2003


SANTA CLARA -- Team executive John McVay has pushed back his retirement every year since 1998 because of his deep ties to the 49ers organization.

His current contract with the 49ers is set to expire May 1.

McVay, 72, said he plans to return to his home in Granite Bay this spring and leave his title as 49ers vice president/director of football operations behind for good.

"I'm planning to retire," he said Thursday.

McVay returned to the organization in October 1998 after three years away when the 49ers' front office was on the verge of being vacated. President Carmen Policy had left to become part owner of the Cleveland Browns, and general manager Dwight Clark was soon to follow.

The 49ers needed McVay, who spent 17 seasons as the team's top personnel man, to orchestrate the team's efforts to deal with its salary cap mess.

"I came back for six months and now it's four years and six months and I'm still here," he said. "I was going to retire a year ago and John York said, 'Would you stay another year?' And I said, 'If you need me, I will; you know that.' "

McVay's retirement apparently became an issue in a Dec. 30 meeting between former coach Steve Mariucci's agent and York, the 49ers' owner.

Mariucci's agent, Gary O'Hagan, apparently made reference to his client's desire to absorb some of McVay's responsibilities when he retires.

"He was simply offering, 'If you don't want to replace that position in the building, Steve would be willing to assume some of those (responsibilities) if you wanted it to be done," Mariucci said.

York said O'Hagan was demanding more powers for Mariucci. General manager Terry Donahue said Mariucci wanted to take some of his responsibilities, including control over the equipment room, training room, and film and video operations.

Mariucci said he shared those responsibilities with Clark under the former regime. But under the current organizational structure, McVay has none of the powers that Mariucci apparently sought.

McVay's sole responsibilities are negotiating and renegotiating contracts and working on salary cap-related matters.

If McVay, who commutes three days a week to the team's offices, follows through with his retirement, his duties as chief negotiator would fall almost exclusively to Dominic Corsell, the team's assistant director of football operations/salary cap coordinator.


Two assistant coaches packed their belongings and severed their ties with the organization Thursday, just one day after Mariucci was fired.

Special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven and linebackers coach Richard Smith, both of whom have long relationships with Mariucci, were the first assistant coaches to leave the 49ers.

DeHaven, a 16-year NFL coaching veteran, has agreed to a job with another NFL team but said he was "sworn to secrecy." Dallas and Cincinnati, teams that recently hired head coaches, have not named special-teams coaches.

DeHaven resigned during a meeting with Donahue. He was expecting to be fired in the coming days. Neither DeHaven nor Smith was under contract to the 49ers for next season.

"I think I beat them to the punch," DeHaven said. "Terry and I shook hands and wished each other good luck."

Smith is also expected to find employment elsewhere in the near future.

Tell us what you think on the new 49ers Clubhouse message board.