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Casserly: How To Find Hungry Head Coaches

Posted Jan 9, 2014

Washington Redskins GM Bruce Allen said he wanted a head coach with "fire in his belly." Former GM Charley Casserly talks about how to find a hungry head coach.

As the Washington Redskins interview candidates to become the 29th head coach in franchise history, Redskins.com’s Stephen Czarda caught up with former general manager Charley Casserly to get an insider’s take on what front offices look for in a coach beyond X’s and O’s.

In the fourth and final part of an exclusive multi-part series, Casserly explains the evaluation process for past NFL head coaches.


While Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and John Fox of the Denver Broncos have all led their teams to success, all three were previously head coaches in other cities.

And all three had tenures that ended abruptly.  

Carroll was relieved of duties in both New York and New England, Belichick was no longer the Cleveland Browns’ head coach just one year removed from an 11-5 record and Fox’s last season in Carolina produced only two victories.

Former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly said past coaches can be successful in new cities, but the person must be hungry.

“I think you have to evaluate: did he have a chance to win and what was the talent like and was he given enough time?” Casserly asked. “Mike Shanahan was fired in Oakland—well, a lot of guys have been fired in Oakland.

“Bill Belichick was in Cleveland and he was actually 11-5 the year before they fired him.

“Marv Levy didn’t win in Kansas City but he did in Buffalo.

“You have to evaluate: did he had the talent to be successful and did he have the support from the administration. That is why you would give a guy another chance.”

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen told the media after relieving Mike Shanahan of his duties that he was looking for a candidate with "fire in his belly."

Casserly said the key to any great coaching hire is finding someone who is hungry to succeed and relentless in his pursuit.

“The key thing on hiring a guy, especially after he’s had success, is [if] he’s in it for the money or does he have a burning desire to prove something,” Casserly stated. "Does the guy have the burning desire to go through the tough times, put in the hours and have the patience to rebuild the program?

“That’s what you have to find out, especially a guy is making good money. 

“When the Giants hired Tom Coughlin, one of their questions was does he have that burning desire, and clearly they felt he did.

“He proved them right."  

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