Bears appear set to name Wannstedt their new coach

January 19, 1993|By Fred Mitchell | Fred Mitchell,Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears have singled out Dalla Cowboys assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt to become their next coach. An announcement of an agreement was imminent today.

Wannstedt met with Bears president Michael McCaskey about the vacant position yesterday, and perhaps sealed the deal to succeed Mike Ditka.

"We wish him well," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his radio show last night. "We know Dave Wannstedt will do very well as a head coach, and we expect that announcement at any time."

Wannstedt returned to Dallas with the team following the Cowboys' 30-20 upset of the 49ers Sunday in the NFC championship game in San Francisco. Then he and his wife reportedly departed for Chicago for his third conversation with the Bears in less than two weeks.

Following an initial telephone contact with McCaskey more than a week ago, Wannstedt met with McCaskey in Dallas, according to sources. Yesterday's visit at an undisclosed site would have been the third contact.

Jones and Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson have given Wannstedt permission to agree to terms with the Bears and continue coaching the Dallas defense for the Jan. 31 Super Bowl matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

Officials from the NFL declined to comment when asked about a ruling on whether Wannstedt could work for the Cowboys while employed by the Bears. Such a circumstance would be unprecedented.

Washington Redskins assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon, 54, was contacted but not interviewed at length.

"We spoke," Petitbon said. "But we decided to leave it at that. We are not going to talk publicly about it, not at this time."

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