San Jose Mercury

Cottrell pleased with 49ers' interview process
February 06, 2003

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

As one of the top candidates, New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell has no problem with the 49ers' drawn-out search for a head coach.

``This is a team that is really going out of its way to do a good job with the interview process,'' Cottrell said Wednesday night. ``At least they have a plan and they're sticking to it.

``I'm thankful I've survived the survivor series and I'm in pretty good shape. I'm one of the guys near the end that they're talking to.''

Cottrell, 55, met with team director John York during the afternoon and was scheduled to join York and General Manager Terry Donahue for a dinner meeting. He will wrap up his second round of interviews today. Neither Donahue nor York was available for comment.

Cottrell said his defensive philosophy is to get his team to ``just play like hell,'' and his offensive philosophy is to keep the defense off the field, but he said football barely came up in his meeting with York.

``We just talked about our backgrounds,'' Cottrell said. ``We're just getting to know each other.''

Also in the running are defensive coordinators Greg Blache of the Chicago Bears and Jim Mora of the 49ers. Mora was scheduled to meet with York and Donahue today, and Blache is expected to come to town Friday. Donahue has said candidates from the college ranks could be added to the mix.

Cottrell, a 19-year NFL assistant, is one of two minority candidates. Blache is the other. The 49ers have never had a black head coach in their 54-history.

Asked if he thought being a minority helped or hurt his chances, Cottrell replied, ``Let's get off this thing about the minority issue. I think they're going to go with the best coach, regardless of race. You can be white. You can be purple. It doesn't matter. The best coach is going to get this job.''

Cottrell, who has interviewed for a head-coaching job with six other teams in the past two years, said he feels he's getting as good a shot as anyone with the 49ers.

``I think this has been very genuine,'' he said. ``Just because a team talks to you, it's not an interview. I've had seven teams talk to me. Four of them have been what I call legitimate interviews.''

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