Central Issues

The Detroit Lions officially announced Steve Mariucci as the team's head coach Tuesday. The deal is reportedly worth $25 million over five years. The contract would tie Mariucci with the Redskins' Steve Spurrier as the league's highest paid head coach.

"We are thrilled with the hiring of Steve Mariucci as our next head coach. This is a huge step for our team and organization," said Lions' Chief Executive Matt Millen. "I have known Steve since he got into the NFL as an assistant and he has continually impressed me with his knowledge of the game and his ability to handle players and people."

The decision to bring in Mariucci just one week removed from the firing of former head coach Marty Mornhinweg was a poorly kept secret. At the time, Millen stated that the organization would follow the NFL's guidelines to interview minority coaches.

However, because of the evident interest in the former 49ers' head coach, requests made by Detroit to interview minority candidates were denied. The Lions did not comment on reports that a group led by lawyer Johnnie Cochran would lead an appeal to the league office regarding the hiring of Mariucci.

Millen did state, however, that Mariucci was an easy fit for a ball club starved for leadership.

"(Steve Mariucci) has been a winner at every level. He has tremendous experience in this League and brings unique qualities to our team. Specifically, his ability to guide the 49ers through significant roster adjustments is very impressive. His offensive system is one that we already have in place which certainly is a plus for our football team in general and some of our young offensive players in particular."

Bear Report Top Stories