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49ers Interim President Resigns

January 9, 1999

ATLANTA (AP) _ Larry Thrailkill, hired to oversee the San Francisco 49ers after Carmen Policy’s abrupt departure as club president, resigned Saturday, saying he had completed his caretaker duties.

The departure of Thrailkill, the chief operating officer for the DeBartolo Corp. and a Nashville-based corporate lawyer, had been anticipated. He did not attend the team’s final two regular season games or last week’s playoff victory over Green Bay and was seldom at the team’s Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters in recent weeks.

He indicated when he assumed the team presidency in July that he had no interest in working permanently for the club.

``Thrailkill stated in his written resignation that he had fulfilled his duties to the team and the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp.,″ the team said in a statement released before Saturday’s divisional playoff game against Atlanta. ``Additionally, Thrailkill expressed a strong desire to return to his family, home and law practice.″

John McVay, the team’s interim general manager, is the team’s highest remaining front-office executive and will oversee club operations pending the appointment of a permanent replacement for club president.

Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, who led the 49ers to three Super Bowls wins during the 1980s, is widely expected to rejoin the team in a yet to be determined front-office capacity. Walsh could be hired as early as next week, a team source told The Associated Press.

Thrailkill’s departure also could mean the return of Eddie DeBartolo as the active club owner. DeBartolo ceded control of the team to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, in December 1997, when he was targeted in a Louisiana gambling fraud probe.

Meanwhile, McVay said work was continuing on a proposal to extend coach Steve Mariucci’s contract and he expected to wrap it up shortly.

``From what I understand, we’re very close, Mariucci said.

Mariucci is finishing the second year of a five-year deal.

``The contract extension for head coach Steve Mariucci will be finalized by John McVay,″ the team added in the statement. ``Denise DeBartolo York and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. will be advised on all matters pertaining to the Mariucci deal. John McVay, 49ers interim assistant to the president, will assume all other duties previously held by Thrailkill.″

McVay, the team’s chief football administrator under former coaches Walsh and George Seifert, was brought out of retirement two months ago when it became apparent that Dwight Clark would leave as general manager to join Policy as an executive with the expansion Cleveland Browns. Clark left the 49ers in late November and now works with Policy, who resigned as 49ers president July 22 after a falling out with DeBartolo.

DeBartolo pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony crime last October, was fined $2 million and placed on probation. He also must testify in the case of former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who allegedly accepted $400,000 from DeBartolo in an influence-peddling scheme involving riverboat casino permits.

DeBartolo has asked to be reinstated as active owner. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is reviewing the case. A ruling is expected by next month.

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