The Tennessee Titans formally interviewed Mike Munchak on Monday as the process to find Jeff Fisher’s replacement began in earnest.
Munchak, the Titans’ offensive line coach since 1997, has been mentioned prominently as a candidate to become the head coach since last Thursday’s announcement that Fisher would not return for the 2011 season.
“I think he’s a person, given his playing career and his coaching career, he’s certainly a person that you’d have to consider,” General Manager Mike Reinfeldt said.
Munchak is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who was a first-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1982. He played 159 career games, which ranks fourth all-time in franchise history, and earned nine Pro Bowl invitations. The Oilers retired his number in 1996 and he was named to the Hall of Fame in 2001.
The whole of his coaching experience is limited to the Oilers-Titans franchise. He began as an offensive quality control coach in 1994. He was promoted to offensive line coach in 1997 and has remained in that position ever since.
“I think head coaching experience is a good thing — there’s some interesting guys that you have to look at,” Reinfeldt said. “At the same time, [Fisher] was a defensive coordinator, became a head coach — a very successful head coach.”
Reinfeldt and Executive Vice President Steve Underwood will lead the coaching search, but owner Bud Adams will have the final say on who is hired.
With Munchak and other members of the staff already under contract for 2011, it makes sense that the search would begin among their ranks.
Dave McGinnis, the assistant head coach/linebackers, is the only member of that group with experience as an NFL head coach. He guided the Arizona Cardinals from 2000 through 2003.
Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger interviewed for openings with other franchises several years ago.
“I think there’s two or three people [on staff] that probably you would look at and think would be worthy of [an interview],” Reinfeldt said. “ … We do a pretty good job of — whether it’s players or personnel people or coaches — we retain lists and kind of have a ready list of guys that we think are candidates. … [Underwood] and I will be going through that list. We’ll be conferring with Mr. Adams, and we’ll be kind of taking this long list and narrowing it into a short list.”
No timetable has been laid out to complete the process, which according to league rules must include an interview with at least one minority candidate.
“We’re going to take however long it takes,” Underwood said. “Speed is not the primary consideration. Quality … is the single most important consideration.”