Niners search for coach


Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 1:07 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO - The 49ers plan to look at two more NFL coordinators as candidates for their head coaching vacancy.
Scheduled for interviews this week are Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and Tim Lewis, defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, a San Francisco spokesman said Monday.
After dining together Monday night, Heimerdinger, a former assistant at the University of Florida, and 49ers owner John York will have a formal interview in St. Louis today. Lewis will interview on Wednesday, spokesman Kirk Reynolds said.
York has already interviewed New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel in Boston, with both sides saying the conversation Saturday went well.
Heimerdinger has been in charge of the Titans' offense for five years, leading Tennessee to several franchise superlatives and helping Steve McNair win a share of the MVP award last season.
He was on the Denver Broncos' staff for five years before joining the Titans, but hasn't been a head coach since 1979 at Johnsburg High School in McHenry, Ill.
Lewis was the defensive coordinator of the Steelers for the final four seasons of a nine-year stint with Pittsburgh before Giants coach Tom Coughlin hired him a year ago. The former Green Bay Packers cornerback was the 11th overall selection in the 1983 draft, but his playing career was cut short by a neck injury in 1986.
Lewis has never been a head coach. He has been mentioned as a candidate for Syracuse's vacant coaching position, and he interviewed for the top job at Pitt, his alma mater, before Dave Wannstedt was hired.
York fired coach Dennis Erickson and dismissed general manager Terry Donahue last Wednesday after the 49ers finished 2-14, matching the worst record in franchise history and earning the top pick in the draft. York plans to hire a coach with broad powers before replacing his general manager.
York apparently was interested in interviewing Southern California coach Pete Carroll, but the former Jets and Patriots coach has said he isn't interested. When York and Donahue hired Erickson following the 2002 season, they interviewed several prominent NFL coordinators before selecting Erickson from Oregon State. This time, York said he plans to hire a coach with significant NFL experience and a winning background.
  • BROWNS: Interim coach Terry Robiskie thinks he has done enough to keep the job on a permanent basis.
    Robiskie met with team owner Randy Lerner, president John Collins and general manager Phil Savage in New York on Monday to interview for the position that became open when Butch Davis resigned.
    Robiskie has the backing of the players, who have been outspoken in supporting him. But Cleveland went 4-12 this season and struggled on offense with Robiskie as coordinator.
    The Browns lost four straight after Robiskie took over for Davis, but he inspired the players to win the final game of the season and snap a nine-game losing streak.
    ''I firmly believe that I did all I could do. It was a tough, tough situation to take over,'' Robiskie said a day after the Browns beat Houston.
    Robiskie is the fourth candidate interviewed by the Browns, joining New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress and Pittsburgh offensive line coach Russ Grimm.
    The other three candidates are still working for their teams in the playoffs, which could delay a decision.
    Savage said the Browns are willing to wait until after the Super Bowl, if necessary, to hire the right candidate.
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