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Departing Jaguars Owner Regrets Firing Coughlin


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Wayne Weaver is in a reflective mood these days, and not just because it's the New Year.


After 18 years as the only owner the Jacksonville Jaguars have known, Weaver will hand the reins to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan on Jan. 4. The occasion prompted him to share his memories with the team's official website Friday, and the front office of the New York Giants might want to take note of what Weaver had to say about their head coach, Tom Coughlin.


"Look at the first eight years with (then-head coach) Tom Coughlin. It was our most successful time, but we didn’t do everything right and I learned a lot from him. ...


"If hindsight you could change, I'll be honest with you: I probably would have never changed Coughlin," the 76-year-old Weaver said. "I would have tried to have Tom take a step back and just be the coach. I thought about it, but I didn't think Tom would do it. I thought Tom's pride would never allow him to take a step back and me take the general manager's position."


It's no wonder Weaver feels that way: The record says Coughlin is the most successful expansion coach in recent NFL history. He had a 68-60 record in eight seasons at the helm in Jacksonville, made two appearances in the AFC Championship Game (including one in the team's second season of play), and is the only coach in league history to lead an expansion team to the playoffs in four of its first five seasons. (Coughlin's replacement, Jack Del Rio, had just two playoff appearances between 2003 and 2011, and never made it past the Divisional round.)


"My three short list names I had narrowed it down to were (Mike) Shanahan, (Tony) Dungy and Tom," Weaver said. "I hired Tom because I felt he was more autocratic and I felt that not knowing anything about this business I needed somebody where I could say, 'You set the stage here. You build the platform we have to build this franchise around.'


"I felt he would be the best guy to do it and, as it turned out, he was the best guy to do it. We had tremendous success. Our draft choices were probably better than the average team at the time. That was Tom's work ethic. He was very involved and he was a good evaluator. He held people accountable to develop those players.


"I'm proud overall of what we accomplished here," Weaver stressed. "I'm disappointed, because I do think you can win (a Super Bowl) in this league a lot sooner than 18 years and we didn't do it."


And his advice to Khan?


"What you have to do is draft well and get the right coach. That's what I said to him."



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