The Tennessee Titans have fired Mike Munchak after three seasons as head coach and 31 years combined with this franchise as a player and coach.
The Titans confirmed the firing Saturday after holding meetings since they ended the season with a 7-9 record and a 16-10 win over Houston.
“The last week has been a difficult time trying to navigate through many issues to find the best resolution for this franchise moving forward,” general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. “Tough choices were presented to all sides and the end result was to part ways and move forward without Mike.”
The Titans scheduled a news conference for later Saturday to discuss the firing. Webster now has to oversee this franchise's first coaching search since Munchak was hired in February 2011 and only the second since this team left Houston in 1997.
Munchak flew to Texas on Friday morning to meet with team president and CEO Tommy Smith and Webster. They returned late in the afternoon, and Munchak eluded reporters by driving his truck through a different airport exit.
The coach had a season left on his contract and was 22-26 overall. He had been with this franchise since 1982 when the then-Houston Oilers made him a first-round draft pick, and he joined the coaching staff as an assistant the year after he retired.
The Titans made Munchak their 16th head coach when late owner Bud Adams promoted him after firing Jeff Fisher. But Munchak's first offseason was wiped out by the NFL lockout, and his second was chewed up when Adams ordered his front office to chase Peyton Manning.
Adams spent more than $100 million this past offseason to restock the Titans' roster and made it clear he wanted a playoff berth. That spending spree landed 13 new free agents, along with seven draft picks making the roster.
Bucs add to staff
After hiring Lovie Smith as their new head coach, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers filled two more key coaching positions over the weekend. The Bucs hired former California head coach Jeff Tedford as their offensive coordinator on Saturday and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Lezlie Frazier confirmed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he will accept the defensive coordinator position with Tampa Bay.
Frazier was fired Dec. 30 and worked as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals and Vikings prior to becoming a head coach.
Along with Tennessee, the head coaching jobs in Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota are still open. Two former Super Bowl winning coaches, Tony Dungy and Brian Billick, both said they think the Lions job is the best opportunity available. Dungy maintained he had no interest in returning to the sidelines but Billick said if the Lions called, he'd listen.
The Vikings are reportedly interested in a number of NFL assistants currently coaching for playoff teams, with Denver assistants Adam Case (offensive coordinator) and Jack Del Rio (defensive coordinator) and Seattle assistants Darren Bevell (offensive coordinator) and Dan Quinn (defensive coordinator) among the frontrunners.
Cleveland was scheduled to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Saturday and the Browns also met with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles Friday.