Lions set to announce Mariucci as head coach

The Detroit Lions will name Steve Mariucci their new head coach by the middle of this week, LionsFans.com has learned. Mariucci interviewed with Matt Millen late Wednesday and toured the Lions Allen Park practice facility and Ford Field in downtown Detroit Thursday before returning to San Francisco Thursday evening.

(ALLEN PARK, MI) -- The Detroit Lions will name Steve Mariucci their new head coach by the middle of this week LionsFans.com has learned. Mariucci interviewed with Matt Millen late Wednesday and toured the Lions Allen Park practice facility and Ford Field in downtown Detroit Thursday before returning to San Francisco Thursday evening.

Sources tell LionsFans.com that Mariucci and Millen met with William Clay Ford, Sr. at the Ford Family's Florida resort compound and got the Lions chairman's blessing to bring in the personable Mariucci as the Lions next coach.

Furthermore, sources tell LionsFans.com that Detroit has gotten sign off from the NFL on the league's mandatory minority interviewing process after both former Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis declined to interview for the job. Detroit offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis did interview for the job and will stay on as offensive coordinator under Mariucci.

Bill Ford, Jr. reached at the National Automotive Dealers Association meeting where he gave the keynote speech told the Detroit News "You might ask me how I know this, but Steve is not even in town this weekend," he said. "But I did meet with Steve back in Detroit before I came out to San Francisco."

Mariucci is reportedly back in Detroit where he, his agent Gary O' Hagen and Lions vice-president Tom Lewand and Millen are working out the details of a reported four-year, $15 million contract.

The same sources tell LionsFans.com that Mariucci will have input into personnel and control over Detroit's roster but will not be director of player personnel. Detroit reportedly is looking at former 49ers and Washington Redskins personnel man Vinny Cerrato among others.

Mariucci, 45, gives the Lions exactly what they need; an experienced head coach who's won everything except a Super Bowl. He gives Detroit a fresh face, a charismatic presence and a wealth of football knowledge and experience in building a winner. The Lions provide Mariucci with what he craves; an organization where he's highly respected, his input is sought on all decisions and the security he never got in San Francisco.

One player certain to benefit almost immediately from Mariucci's presence is Joey Harrington, the Lions starting quarterback. Mariucci has a track record of grooming quarterbacks. Under his tutelage as quarterbacks coach in Green Bay from 1992-95, Mariucci got results from not just starter Brett Favre, but also backup Mark Brunnell and third stringer Ty Detmer.

Mariucci presence should speed up the maturation of Harrington as the Detroit signal caller. As Mariucci builds a staff, one of the guys he might contact is Tom Holmoe, the former Cal head coach and defensive coordinator under Mariucci during his tenure at Cal. Holmoe was replaced by Jeff Tetford in Cal after two dismal seasons.


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