San Jose Mercury

Mora's pitch has continuity as centerpiece
February 07, 2003

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

The only current staff member under consideration for the 49ers' head-coaching job, defensive coordinator Jim Mora made his pitch Thursday for maintaining a degree of continuity.

After another round of interviews with General Manager Terry Donahue and team director John York, Mora told reporters he felt his familiarity with the organization and the players would allow him to hit the ground running if he emerges as the team's 14th head coach.

``I know where we've been,'' said Mora, an assistant with the 49ers for six seasons, including the past four as coordinator. ``I know the pitfalls we've had and I know that we've been able to come back from 4-12 and win our division. Most of these players, I've known since they became San Francisco 49ers. From that standpoint, there is a real advantage.''

Mora, 41, joins New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache as candidates to succeed Steve Mariucci, who was fired Jan. 15, three days after the 49ers' second-round loss to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cottrell was recalled for his second round of interviews Wednesday, and Blache is due to visit the team's Santa Clara facility today. One or more candidates could emerge from the college ranks, Donahue has said.

Though Mariucci was fired due in part to a rift with 49ers brass, Mora said he's not worried team officials might be determined to hire someone from outside the organization to ensure a fresh start.

``I think they want to continue to win and build on what we've done over the last three or four years,'' Mora said. ``There's a real nucleus of young talent here. There's a window of opportunity here to go win a world championship, and I don't believe the organization wants to get off to a fresh start.''

Mora said he planned a more aggressive approach to the game, both offensively and defensively, and hoped it would be reflected on the field. It sounded a lot like he was advocating the ``killer instinct'' that critics of Mariucci complained he lacked last season.

``You've got to get your playmakers the ball and you've got to develop an attitude on your football team that says we are going to attack . . . in all phases,'' Mora said. ``We're going to go for the throat when we have people down. That would be my basic philosophy, about not only offense, but about football.''

Mora did not rule out staying with the 49ers if he is not chosen for the top job.

``I have other opportunities out there, but I really feel strongly about this organization,'' Mora said. ``It's not a place I'm looking to leave, that's for sure.''

Mora could have the option to go to Carolina to become the Panthers' defensive coordinator or possibly rejoin Mariucci, now coach of the Detroit Lions.

David Goldman has resigned as the 49ers' vice president of business development, effective Feb. 28. Goldman did not specify a reason for his departure, and there was no immediate word on a replacement.

The 49ers announced the hiring of Larry MacNeil as chief financial officer. A veteran accountant, MacNeil has spent the past 15 years as a management consultant. He replaces Les Schmidt, who resigned in September.

Kevin Lartigue resigned as equipment manager to take a job in Detroit as Mariucci's administrative assistant.

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