Huizenga Discusses Parcells

Owner Wayne Huizenga has been in the news lately, first with reports that he was trying to sell the team and then this week with the hiring of Bill Parcells as executive vice president of football operations. Huizenga addressed the media on Thursday and here is the team-released transcript of his comments.

On how long he has know Bill Parcells: "I guess maybe 10-plus years or something like that. You know we have a golf course up in Stuart. He's a member at our golf course. I see him out there hitting balls once in a while with his grandson."

On whether Bill Parcells' negotiations with Atlanta hasten the Dolphins' efforts to bring him to the franchise: "Just for the record, I flew to Albany (New York) long before Atlanta had talked to him, so it wasn't that we came in late. We were actually there earlier. I flew to Albany last week one day and got caught in a snowstorm there, so you can figure out what day that was. I don't remember what day that was. But it snowed and we had to hang out there for a while. The airport closed before we could take off. We were there and had a nice conversation then. I don't know when Atlanta talked to him. It made yesterday a little hectic, but we had a lot of conversations before."

On whether he ever felt that the team's negotiations with Parcells had taken a back seat to Parcells' discussions with Atlanta: "I don't really know. A lot of stuff went on that we didn't know about, so we didn't have those feelings. I guess I learned yesterday morning that he was talking with Atlanta, but we had already been having discussions."

On whether telling Parcells that he would remain as majority owner of the team persuaded Parcells to accept the Dolphins offer): "I don't know what swayed him. You'd have to hear what he had to say there, but last week we made a statement that we're not really actively trying to sell the team, but we have always over the years have talked to people about making a minority investment. As I get older I look towards how long do I own it and so forth and so on, but we've never really ‘put the team up for sale.' We've never hired anybody to sell it or hired investment bankers or anything like that, but the phone rings all the time. People want to be in sports, and this is a great area. You're here in South Florida, being in sports. The Dolphins are great. We all know we're having a tough year this year, but still, it's a great franchise. We're proud of the Dolphins and we're frustrated like a lot of our fans are, but we're proud of the Dolphins and it's a great franchise, so it's just natural for people to want to be a part of it."

On his expectations for Bill Parcells' role with the team: "Let me make it broad-brushed, make it simple. Anything that has anything to do with football directly or indirectly reports to Bill. That includes doctors and trainers and everything. I heard him say up there that everybody is going to report to him, and that's what it is. He's our guy. I've heard you guys and I've read what you've had to say for a long time and that ‘Hey, Wayne doesn't know football,' and, by the way, I never said that I did. Wayne doesn't know football, we need somebody in there and so forth, so this is that guy. We've got a great coach, we've got a great general manager, but this is that extra guy to just go in there and give us that edge we need to get back on that winning track again. It's all about winning. You win and everything else takes care of itself. So it's win, win, win. That's all we want to do. I've said that before, and we didn't do it this year. We've got to get this thing back and I can't think of anyone any better than Bill Parcells."

On whether he is concerned about the number of franchises Parcells has worked for during his career: "He's got a four-year contract, that's all I can say. On any given day, in your own job, you could say ‘I don't want to do this' and out you go. You could just walk out if you want. Maybe you can't be fired with a contract, but at least if you want to leave you can leave. There's nothing I can do about that. That is just a hypothetical."

On speaking to Cam Cameron Wednesday about the hiring of Parcells: "I've got a lot respect for coach (Cameron), and I've got a lot of respect for Randy (Mueller), too. I know there may be some people in this room that agree or disagree, but I've got a lot of respect for both of those guys. It's going to be interesting to see where Bill Parcells goes with that and how he goes about it and so forth. But right now it's premature. I think Cam is a wonderful guy, I really do. I look at Cam as like a Tony Dungy. He's just a great person and treats everybody with respect and I have a lot of respect for him. It's difficult to tell on a guy like Cam. He's been out there now 14 Sundays, and he's had injuries up one side and down the other. It's kind of like sending a guy out to battle and you give him a bunch of bullets and every Sunday you take a couple more bullets away from him. Pretty soon, how is he going to win the war? It's tough. That's something that Bill Parcells, a lot smarter than I am, that's something for him to work on."

On what portion of the team he would consider selling: "I don't have any magic number of what we're selling. If some guy comes along and says ‘I'd like to make a 20 percent investment' or whatever – we're not out there actively trying to sell. By the way, since you guys have been writing the articles, the phone has been ringing like crazy. I've had 100 phone calls. By the way, we've got some land up in Okeechobee we'd like to sell."

On his emotions after last Sunday's game: "I wasn't worried about anything. I just didn't want this franchise, with its glorified record, to be in the record books at 0-14. So it was very emotional for me when that didn't happen. To me, it was like winning the Super Bowl. I didn't want this franchise, forget about me, I'm going to be gone, but I didn't want this franchise to be the one that went 0-14 like Tampa. We see Tampa on the television all the time and I didn't want that to be the Dolphins. I was really, really, really excited that that didn't happen to this great franchise."

On how this hiring affects the job security of Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller: "As far as I know, both of those guys are secure, but that's not my decision. That's what we hired the expert for."

On if Bill Parcells will run the team's draft this season: "The coach is going to be the coach, and the GM is going to be the GM and he's that check and balance up here. It's no different than you guys. You've got a sports editor and the sports editor reports to somebody else and that guy reports to somebody else. It's that whole check and balance thing. The GM has got to do his job and the head coach has to do his job."

On if Bill Parcells' track record speaks for itself: "There are some coaches who are famous for being more of a good coach and there are other coaches who are famous for being more of a personnel-picker, an identifier. I think Bill is both. He has a unique ability to find the right talent. In any organization, it's not just one person. It's always more than one person. Just go back to Dallas the last four years. What's happened in Dallas in the last four years is terrific. I believe that Bill had a lot to say about who got picked and who's on the team in Dallas, and Dallas does a great job. I give Bill a lot of credit for what happened there."

On what makes Bill Parcells' different from some of the franchises other high-profile hires, such as Nick Saban and Jimmy Johnson: "Those were both head coaches. Now we're talking about an executive position at the organization. He's part of management. He's in an executive position here at this organization and has a talent, like we just got through saying, on both sides of the ball. He can work with the coach, because he's been a coach for a long time, but he also has a great reputation as far as talent, so he can work with the GM. I think he's an unusual guy. When we sat around here, the five or six of us, when we sat around here and said, ‘Ok, who's first? Who's second? Who's third? If we don't get this guy, where do we go next?' And so forth and so on, he was on the top of our list. There were other people that we thought highly of, but they didn't have both. They were either good at one or the other. I shouldn't say that. They were good at both, but they were better at one than they were at the other. We're very happy to be able to land ‘the Tuna.'"

On why this position had been vacant previously: "Just trying to find the right person at the right time. It's like when I walked out of the building on Sunday and some fan yelled to me "Fire the Coach!" That's easy to say, but the next step is where do you go then? Who are you going to get? Who is out there? You look around and you say ‘Ok, fine, but where do we go?' Sometimes you've got to really think this thing through before you take the next step. That's the kind of thing you're talking about."

On his expectations for next year and how the team can turn around its fortunes: "I've never been afraid to say ‘rebuilding.' I'll say ‘rebuilding' right now. When you've won one game, we've got a lot of work to do. It is what it is. Don't try to paint it, it is what it is. We've got work to do. We've got to get about it. So if we're going to do, we don't want to make any mistakes doing it. By bringing Bill in, I think we have a person that can really help us pick the right people and not make mistakes."

On if Bill Parcells and the coach have differing views over on-the-field strategies: "You've got to talk to Bill about that. He's got the ultimate responsibility. But I don't think it gets to that point. I think it gets to, ‘who's the head coach going to be?' If Bill stays with the coach we have he's going to do one thing. If he thinks he's going to hire someone else, he's going to go a different way. But once you hire the coach, you've got to work with him. You can't hire a guy that wants to put round pegs in round holes and have him put square pegs in round holes. I don't think it gets to that level. That's an example of what you're talking about. It doesn't get to that level."

On at what point during the season he decided to search for an Executive Vice President of Football Operations: "I can't tell you when. We've been talking about this for quite some time. I don't know that we could put an exact date on it, but over the last four or five weeks, we were trying to decide what we were going to do and focusing on things."

On if this decision came as a result of a mid-season evaluation: "We've been working hard on the evaluation, and this is part of the results of the evaluation. There will be more things as the season ends. We're constantly evaluating, let me put it that way, so there will be some other things."

On if he would have filled this position even if the team did not reach an agreement with Bill Parcells: "We would have then gone to number two, number three, or that type of thing."

On if this move's potential to increase revenues influenced the team's decision: "I think that's a bonus. But you know what, all that stuff goes away if you win. All of a sudden, if you win, we don't have a parking problem. If we win, the food is good. If we win, the lines aren't long. Everything goes away when you win. That's all we talk about here is winning. Don't get me wrong, we work on customer relations and we do surveys and all that kind of stuff, but that stuff all goes away if you win. You've got to win, and that's all we want to do, is win. We're not afraid to spend the money to win, you know that. Obviously, Bill didn't come cheap. That doesn't matter to us. Let's just put a winning product on the field. That's what we've got to do."


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