How close did the Tampa Bay Bucs come to naming Bill Walsh their fourth head coach? According to general manager Phil Krueger, Walsh assembled a coaching staff he planned to bring to Tampa Bay.
"He already knew who his assistants were going to be," Krueger said. "He called after we got back from the meeting with Mr. Culverhouse (in Phoenix), said he was impressed, and that "it looks like I'm going to go for it.' "
Krueger denies reports that Walsh demanded partial ownership of the team or that he wanted to serve only as the Bucs' general manager and not as head coach.
"One thing I told him up front: "If you're interested in a percent of the team, we're not going to do that,' " Krueger said. "He had heard people say that, but he said there was no need to discuss that. If I make up my mind I want to come to the Bucs, money won't be a problem. You and I will get it done in an hour."
Walsh's biggest concern was over whether he and his wife should leave San Francisco. Another issue was what role NBC wanted him to play next season if he returned as the network's top football analyst.
"We talked on a weekly basis," Krueger said. "A couple times I thought we were being strung out, like he was dragging it. There were some things about his TV. They were talking to him about operating on Sundays from a central place instead of going to the games. If they'd done that, I don't think he would've gone back to NBC. He was going through all those gyrations."
"There finally came a time where I arranged the meeting between him and Mr. Culverhouse. He was very impressed. He called me back and said this might be it. But in the end, TV came through with what he wanted."