A great interview could produce the next coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Rusty Tillman and Dennis Erickson will have the first chances to wow Seahawks ownership into a quick contract. Tillman will be interviewed today. Erickson, the head coach at the University of Miami, will be interviewed within the next few days after he settles into the Bay Area, site of the East-West Shrine all-star football game.
With no other formal interviews scheduled, the head-coaching search might not go beyond Tillman and Erickson. Seahawks owners Ken Behring and Ken Hofmann and president David Behring have a short list of candidates that includes only two or three more candidates.
“We have determined our list of candidates prior to the interviews,” David Behring said. “That is all subject to change. A great interview could totally change that scenario.”
The Seahawks formally asked for and received permission Wednesday to interview Erickson, a native of Everett and former head coach at Washington State. Behring contacted University of Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who granted the Seahawks the right to talk the Hurricanes head coach.
Erickson will arrive in Palo Alto, Calif., where he will coach in the Shrine game. No interview can be scheduled before Saturday because David Behring will be at the Seahawks offices this week. He will fly down to his home in Danville, Calif., Friday evening.
The first Erickson interview could take place anytime between Saturday and Jan. 14, the day of the Shrine game. If the first talk goes well, there will be a second interview.
“I would expect at least two interviews (for the best candidates),” David Behring said.
San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan can’t have an interview until after his team is eliminated from the playoffs, which might not happen until the end of the month if the 49ers go to the Super Bowl. Erickson and Shanahan head the list of potential replacements for fired head coach and general manager Tom Flores.
The Behrings like Erickson, the former Idaho and Washington State coach, for numerous reasons.
“Everybody is aware of his coaching record,” David Behring said. “He’s won everywhere he’s gone. He’s a very motivational, energetic coach. He’s a great communicator. He has a lot of great attributes that we are looking for in a coach.”
But the Seahawks also know that Erickson is a hot property in NFL circles. The Denver Broncos confirmed Wednesday that they will also interview Erickson at the Shrine game. The Los Angeles Rams, who might fire Chuck Knox next week, are also showing interest in him.
David Behring thinks he is selling the next Seahawks head coach on the best available job in the NFL.
“The primary reason for that is that we have a great young group of players,” Behring said. “I think we have the second or third youngest team in the NFL. We have a great developing quarterback in Rick Mirer. We have a good, young offensive line. Our defense came on pretty strong toward the end of the year.”
Nine Seahawks were either selected to or named alternates to the Pro Bowl, second most in the AFC.
“I think we have an ownership that will allow a coach a lot of leeway …,” Behring added. “That’s why I think it is a very enviable position to become the next head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.”
Meanwhile, two assistant coaches fired along with head coach Tom Flores are being wooed for the staff Houston Oilers interim coach Jeff Fisher is putting together.
Backfield coach Clarence Shelmon and offensive line coach Howard Mudd have each been contacted by Fisher, who is expected to be named head coach within 48 hours.
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