After suffering three consecutive losing years, Jacksonville Jaguar team owner Wayne Weaver decided to go out and find some new blood to coach his football team. He did that by thinking outside of the box and by hiring a young, energetic defensive mind without any previous head coaching experience. That young energetic man would be Carolina's defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
The first eight seasons under Coach Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville's first and only coach, had its ups and downs. The Jaguars had four consecutive winning seasons (95-99), including a 14-2 regular season record in 1999.
The last three years (2000-2002) have been a different story. The combined records for those three years were (19-29).
Team owner Wayne Weaver saw and heard the criticism of Tom Coughlin. Fans were calling for the Coughlin's head on the internet message boards and on sports talk radio. Support for the team and the morale in the organization reach a level that it was necessary for Wayne Weaver to fire the first head coach in Jacksonville's history.
Coughlin, a tiresome worker, was labeled as a coach that lacked certain qualities to identify with the players. It was obvious that team owner Wayne Weaver was looking for something quite different than Tom Coughlin.
On Friday January 17th at 6:00 PM in front of more than 1,000 fans packed into Alltel Stadium's East, Club, owner Wayne Weaver introduced Jacksonville's second head coach Jack Del Rio.
Weaver started out the introduction by mentioning that he interviewed five great football coaches (three of them have had head coaching experience) in Denny Green, Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, Mike Mularkey and Jack Del Rio. Weaver made it clear that he was looking for much more than a great football coach.
"We weren't looking for just a great football coach," the Jacksonville team owner said. "We were looking for someone special. We were looking for our guy."
Weaver down-played the necessity of having a head coach with previous head coaching experience.
"Initially, we wanted to find a coach that had previous head coaching experience," Weaver said.
Weaver stated that two weeks ago eight playoff teams had two head coaches with previous head coaching experience. He also noted that the four head coaches still alive in the playoffs had no head coaching experience.
"He (Jacks Del Rio) played at a very high level," Weaver said. ‘He understands player's needs. He understands how to relate to players."
Del Rio, whose background is on defensive side of the ball, made it quite clear what kind of offensive philosophy he had in mind.
"I know a little about defense," Del Rio, who is the second youngest head coach in the NFL today, said. "Most defensive coaches are labeled as conservative. That's not my style. We are going to be efficient and execute, but we are going to attack defenses."
Under Coach Coughlin, the Jaguars operated under the idea of "One Voice". In the new era under Del Rio, that philosophy will differ. He is very open to sharing power and input.
"Take ego out of the equation and a lot of good things will happen," Del Rio said.
Jaguar fans walked away with a favorable impressive of the new, energetic coach, but there's still some caution is the air.
"He's young, got fire, and he's been there," Vernon Jackson of Jacksonville said. "He's wearing that super-bowl ring. He can talk the talk, but let's see what he can do on the field."
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