ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse was to meet today with coach Richard Williamson to fire him and his assistant coaches, according to a reliable team source.
"He's going to fire Richard, and I think he wants to give the assistants as much time as possible to find other jobs," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Richard must know he's gone."
Williamson, who has spent the past two days in Orlando, had been scheduled to meet with Culverhouse tomorrow. But Culverhouse apparently has changed the timetable to end speculation about Williamson's future.
Williamson and other team officials, including Culverhouse, could not be reached for comment. Norma Williamson, the coach's wife, answered the telephone at their home and said her husband was not there. Buccaneers general manager Phil Krueger was ill and unavailable to discuss new developments.
Culverhouse reportedly has offered former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells a five-year contract that would guarantee him more than $7 million and provide him total control of the football operation.
Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl winner, has been asked to respond to the offer before the weekend. But Parcells first must meet with Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf, a friend who has been promised an opportunity to make a presentation before Parcells commits to another team. That could take place as soon as today, because both were in New Jersey for the holidays.
Parcells, who has a home in Jupiter, Fla., has worked as a commentator with NBC-TV since leaving the Giants.
Culverhouse flew to New Jersey for a meeting with Parcells that took place one day after Williamson finished his first full season as the Buccaneers' coach with a 3-13 record. The Buccaneers will owe Williamson, 4-15 since replacing Ray Perkins, the final year of his contract, worth about $250,000.
The team's top assistant coaches were unaware of the team's plans yesterday.
"I haven't talked to anyone from the office at all," defensive coordinator Floyd Peters said when reached at his home.
Williamson recognized the tenuous nature of his position.
"I'm not going to get into discussing ifs, ands or buts of my coaching one year or two years or whatever," Williamson said earlier this week. "I'll discuss those things with Mr. Culverhouse. It's his decision."