The Oakland Tribune

Jets' Cottrell gets interview with 49ers
January 24, 2003
By Roger Phillips STAFF WRITER

The San Francisco 49ers have received permission from the New York Jets to interview defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell for their head-coaching position.

Cottrell joins 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora, New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress as candidates for the job of replacing Steve Mariucci, who was fired Jan.15.

General manager Terry Donahue interviewed Mora on Wednesday and is scheduled to meet with Crennel and Childress over the weekend.

Cottrell has been the Jets' defensive coordinator for two seasons. Before that, he held the same position in Buffalo for three seasons.

Mora has become the first to interview for the job, and told the 49ers' official Web site, "We had great discussions. From my standpoint it was very productive."

Cottrell, like Crennel, is African American. The NFL has had a poor track record in the hiring of African Americans to head-coaching positions and has been under heightened pressure recently.

Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. has been at the forefront of applying pressure to the NFL. Since the regular season ended three weeks ago, three teams have hired new coaches, and only one of those jobs went to an African American (Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati).

In an interview with the Associated Press, Cochran termed the NFL's response to his pressure "reasonable" but stopped short of saying it was sufficient. The NFL announced a new policy a month ago requiring teams to "seriously" interview at least one minority candidate for each coaching vacancy.

Thus far, the 49ers have announced plans to interview at least two. At Mariucci's firing, 49ers owner John York said, "We are going to have viable African-American coaches on the list and if that is the best coach to be hired, there is no question that we would be hiring him."

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