SBD/January 3, 2013/Franchises

Clark Hunt Plans To Have Larger Role In Chiefs' Operations, Including Hiring New Coach

Hunt will lead the coaching search after GM Pioli hired the Chiefs' last two coaches
News reports this morning have the Chiefs in deep talks with Andy Reid about their head coaching position (Mult., 1/3). The news comes on the heels of Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt saying that he "plans to hire the next coach and that the individual will report to him, rather than through the general manager -- a change in the way the team has operated since its inception." Hunt said he anticipates having more discussions with the coach "in terms of him telling me, 'Hey, here's what we need to be successful.'" Hunt has "refused to say whether GM Scott Pioli will be retained." The AP's Dave Skretta noted Pioli was "tasked with previous coaching hires" after he replaced former GM Carl Peterson in '09. So rather than "allow Pioli to make his third coaching hire in five seasons, Hunt has decided to step in and assume greater responsibility for a franchise once considered among the NFL's most stable." Hunt said, "It's hard for me to say I'm going to spend more time, because I already spend a whole lot of time. It's just not visible time spent standing on the football field, you know, watching practice or whatever. I spend a lot of time on it. It will be a different responsibility having the head coach report directly to me, though" (AP, 1/1). In K.C., Adam Teicher wrote it is "difficult to blame Hunt for excluding Pioli from the coaching search." Both of Pioli’s "handpicked coaching hires went sour: Todd Haley, after his endless squabbles with Pioli, and Romeo Crennel, after the Chiefs’ recently concluded 2-14 season." Pioli will remain GM if Hunt "determines Pioli can have a satisfactory working relationship with the new coach." But Pioli's role would "greatly be reduced if he stays" (K.C. STAR, 1/2).

CHANGE IN PLANS: In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, "Faced with two logical options, Hunt instead created a third that will either mean finishing Pioli off later or setting up an untenable power structure with a new alpha male coach and a former alpha male GM." Hunt’s new plan is to "assume more control over football operations," to find the "best coaching candidate in the NFL and have him report to the owner instead of the GM." It also is to have more "cohesion within an organization where turmoil is the new normal." This is a "public admonishment of Pioli and a flashing neon sign to the football world that the Chiefs are changing how they operate." Hunt’s plan "might work, but the last four years have given Chiefs fans every honest reason to be skeptical." This is Hunt's "most important moment." This might be "the best chance Hunt will ever have to turn around both his franchise and reputation among fans" (K.C. STAR, 1/1).

KNOCKED DOWN A PEG: FOXSPORTS.com's Jason Whitlock wrote Pioli has been "reduced to his former size," and he is "back in the role he played for Bill Belichick in New England: behind-the-scenes puppet." Pioli "will not leave." No other organization will "elevate him to the perch he enjoyed for four years" in K.C., and "certainly no other organization will make him one of the highest-paid executives in the NFL." But the best chance of "hiring the most outstanding coach comes with Pioli in a different zip code." Whitlock: "Why would any highly qualified coach want to participate in the Chiefs' dysfunction? Why would any highly qualified coach want Pioli leading and/or participating in draft and free-agent preparations?" (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/2).
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