SPARANO REMAINS HEAD COACH
After four weird days in Dolphins land, the Dolphins have finally made a decision on who will coach the team for the 2011 season. That man is a familiar face to Dolphins fans, as the team has decided to retain Tony Sparano. With Sparano set to enter his fourth and final year of his original contract, the team has given him a two year extension through 2013.
The decision to stick with Sparano and extend his contract comes after some of the most embarrassing days in Miami Dolphin history. After meeting with Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland for three hours on Monday, Owner Stephen Ross left Sparano out to dry as he started looking for a possible replacement. Reports indicate Ross reached out to former Super Bowl champion head coaches Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden to gauage interest. A report by NFL.com even goes as far as saying Ross offered Gruden a contract that would pay him up to $7 million per season. However, the biggest story was Ross's pursuit of Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. Ross met with Harbaugh before the Orange Bowl in Miami and then flew out to California and spent the day wooing him on Thursday. Ross was ready to give Harbaugh a contract that would have made him the highest paid coach in the NFL. At the end of the day though, Harbaugh turned down the Dolphins and it was announced today that he accepted the head coach job with the San Francisco 49ers.
So while Ross was looking for the next best thing, Sparano waited in Miami, not sure of his future with the team. After attempts failed to land another coach, the team decided to stick with Sparano. It was a situation that has brought a lot of negative buzz to the Dolphins both locally and nationally. To help smooth things over with Sparano, Ross wanted to extend his contract and give him some more power. At 4:15 PM ET on Friday though, things started to go south as the Miami Herald reported Sparano threatened to walk away and quit the team. However, the sides were able to come to an angreement Friday evening on a two year extension. In addition to the extension, Ross gave an expanded role in player personnel decisions. Ireland though will still have final say on all football related decisions.
As the Dolphins try and pick up the pieces of the past few days they would like to forget, the team finally has a head coach in place, it just happens to be the same guy as the past three seasons. With things apparently fixed at this moment, Sparano will need to start putting back together his coaching staff. Dan Henning has reportedly retired and secondary coach Todd Bowles is set to take the defensive coordinator job with the Dallas Cowboys. There has also been talk that quarterback coach David Lee could be leaving to re-join with Houston Nutt at the University of Mississippi.
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