Chiefs CEO Hunt takes on bigger role in franchise

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 1, 2013 at 11:09 am •  Published: January 1, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Clark Hunt is regarded as an intensely private man, someone who prefers to operate behind the scenes and away from the spotlight that comes with owning an NFL franchise.

In some ways, that's about to change.

Hunt fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday as part of a shakeup of the entire structure of a franchise that his father, the late Lamar Hunt, founded 53 years ago. The younger Hunt said 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.

In fact, Hunt has refused to say whether GM Scott Pioli will be retained.

"You know, historically, I've interacted with the general manager on everything that relates to the football team," Hunt told The Associated Press on Monday. "I've had conversations with the head coach, but they're few and far between, in terms of really strategic stuff."

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."

The list is long, but first comes finding a new coach for his team.

Hunt was expected to meet with Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and special teams coach Keith Armstrong this week, and there are surely more interviews in the near future.

All the usual names are expected to be on the wish list — former NFL coaches Jon Gruden, Andy Reid and Bill Cowher, college coaches such as Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Oregon's Chip Kelly, and top NFL assistants, including the Colts' Bruce Arians and the Broncos' Mike McCoy.

Hunt said he wouldn't target a coach who was necessarily "offense or defense," but he did have a specific list of attributes that he seeks in Crennel's replacement.

"If I had to boil it down to a few things, I'd say a proven leader," Hunt said. "Somebody who has demonstrated the ability to build a successful program, or been part of building a success program. Somebody of high integrity, somebody who is a successful teacher and communicator, who has a high football IQ but at the same time likes to roll up their sleeves and work hard — and somebody who likes to hold the team and themselves accountable."

Identifying the qualities that make up the ideal coach is the easy part.

Identifying the coach who has them is more difficult.

Pioli was tasked with previous coaching hires after he replaced former general manager Carl Peterson in 2009. The former New England Patriots executive quickly fired Herm Edwards and hired Todd Haley, but their relationship was strained and Haley was dismissed last December.

Crennel was made interim coach and Pioli gave him the job permanently in January, only for the Chiefs to finish 2-14 this season, matching the worst record in franchise history.

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