Bears general manager Phil Emery has never hired a head coach before, but he knows what he’s looking for in the man who will replace Lovie Smith.
Atlanta Falcons special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan already have interviews scheduled for the Bears’ vacant head-coaching position.
And there are reports that the Bears have requested permission to interview Dallas Cowboys special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis.
But Emery is not limiting the scope of his search.
“We’re going to look at a wide variety of candidates,” he said. “We’re going to look offensively, we’re going to look defensively, we’re going to look special teams, we’re going to look NFL, we’re going to look college.
“Whatever combination that person possesses in terms of excellence, in combination with the individuals that would comprise his staff, will have a lot of weight on that person being right for the Chicago Bears.”
Emery was asked specifically about Bears special-teams coach Dave Toub, widely regarded as one of the best at his job and considered to possess head-coaching qualifications.
“No one is excluded,” the first-year GM said. “We have some excellent coaches on our staff, and I’m not excluding anybody.”
Emery would rather have the process completed sooner than later — in time for him and the new coach to evaluate talent at the college all-star games together — but he said he will not compromise thoroughness for expediency.
He also said money would not be an impediment to the search.
Interviews have been set up for this week and next, and there could be candidates who won’t be available until their current NFL teams have been eliminated from the playoffs.
Once Emery conducts all the initial interviews 1-on-1 and whittles down the finalists, chairman George McCaskey and CEO and president Ted Phillips will become involved in the process.
But the final call will be Emery’s.
“We’re looking for somebody with great organizational skills and administrative skills along with leadership skills,” Emery said. “It’s a 24/7 job. It’s an extremely competitive environment. You have to be highly organized, thorough, meticulous, to make sure that you’re always putting your team in a position for success.”
If Emery can find one man with all the qualities he’s looking for, that will be an incredible accomplishment because the list is lengthy and discerning.
“I want somebody that has high energy, somebody that pulls people together in the building,” he said. “Whatever his personality subset is, or however he approaches it, I want somebody to have some warmth so that we have synergy, not only with our players, but everybody in the building to work towards our common goal. Upbeat and positive.”
That would seem to describe the deposed Smith, whose glass was always half full.
“Coach Smith met a lot of those qualities,” Emery said. “But we made a decision to move in another direction based on our sequence of not being in the hunt five out of the last six years and our lack of offensive consistency.
“In terms of personality and working together, all of that was there, and I have great respect for Coach Smith in all those areas.”
Some of Emery’s other criteria also suggest a person like Smith, while others do not.
“I want somebody that’s good on their feet,” Emery said. “Working with the media, not only in Chicago but in a national sense, is very important. I want this person to stand up and represent us well.
“It’s a very tough job. It’s very demanding. There needs to be a level of consistency in this individual in how he presents himself, not only when we’re up, but when we’re down, and how we’re going to rebound from being down.”
Despite missing the playoffs, the Bears are not down coming off a 10-6 season, and Emery doesn’t envision a rebuilding process that involves some lean years before success.
“I’m looking towards a building effort to continue to improve the club,” he said. “We’re going to go into every year with the sense of urgency of winning it that year.
“Everything we do from a personnel perspective and a synergy game with the head coach is in an effort to win championships.
“Will that happen? I don’t have a crystal ball, but that’s the intent and that’s the goal and that will stay the focus and the goal.”
The front office is in agreement there.
“Not rebuilding,” McCaskey said. “Building.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.