By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer Thu Feb 8, 4:13 PM ET
IRVING, Texas - Wade Phillips was close to becoming the coach of the
Dallas Cowboys, according to several reports. Despite a Cowboys spokesman saying the job hadn't been filled, there were multiple reports that Phillips would succeed the retired Bill Parcells and that an announcement could come as early as Thursday.
Phillips' agent, Gary O'Hagan, was believed to be working out contract details with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Reached on his cell phone Thursday morning, O'Hagan told The Associated Press, "I'm tied up right now; I can't talk," before hanging up. He again refused to comment during a subsequent call.
There were no signs of Phillips being at the team's Valley Ranch complex, where photographers and television cameras stalked the entrances. Jones left early in the afternoon, possibly to meet Phillips and O'Hagan at another location.
Messages left on Phillips' cell phone weren't returned.
"The job hasn't been offered to anyone," said Rich Dalrymple, the team's public relations director.
Public relations officials reiterated Thursday afternoon that there were still no plans for an announcement concerning the coaching vacancy.
The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on their Web sites, as did ESPN.com and NFL.com, that Phillips had been selected as the next coach. All cited unidentified sources.
KTVT-TV of Dallas cited unidentified team sources in a report that Phillips would be the next coach. When Jones was getting out of his car at a back entrance to the complex earlier in the day, he told that station he hadn't offered the job to anyone.
Jones has interviewed 10 candidates to become the Cowboys' seventh coach, the sixth he will hire since buying the team in 1989. Parcells retired Jan. 22 after four seasons in Dallas and 19 as an NFL head coach.
If Phillips becomes the Cowboys coach, the son of longtime Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips would join Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson as the only Texas natives to be in charge of "America's Team." Parcells is the only other coach who had previous head coaching experience before getting to Dallas.
The 59-year-old Phillips, who has been in the NFL 30 of the last 31 years, spent the last three seasons as San Diego's defensive coordinator. The Chargers last month lost offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who became the Miami Dolphins' new coach.
Phillips' head coaching record is 48-42 over three years with Buffalo, two with Denver and season-ending interim stints with New Orleans and Atlanta. That includes 3-4 as a fill-in and 0-3 in the playoffs, most notably the "Music City Miracle," when Tennessee used a trick kick return for the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.
The last candidates interviewed by Jones were two Super Bowl assistants, Indianapolis assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell on Wednesday and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera a day earlier.
San Francisco assistant Norv Turner, a two-time head coach and the offensive coordinator for two of the Cowboys' Super Bowl titles in the 1990s, had been viewed by many as the front-runner for the job.
Jones also interviewed New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs, 49ers assistant and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary and three of Parcells' assistants.
Jason Garrett was hired Jan. 25 for an unspecified role on the staff, likely as offensive coordinator, after he interviewed for the head coaching vacancy. Garrett, a backup to Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman in Dallas from 1993-99, was quarterbacks coach in Miami the last two seasons — his only coaching experience. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070208/...oys_phillips_3