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Ortmayer out as Vermeil shakes up Rams front office, coaching staff

January 24, 1997

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Steve Ortmayer is out as vice president of football operations for the St. Louis Rams, and he’s not the only one handed a pink slip by new coach Dick Vermeil.

Vermeil has been a whirlwind since being named coach on Tuesday. Thursday was Vermeil’s first official day in the office, and he wasted no time cleaning house.

In addition to Ortmayer, Vermeil fired Doug Wilkerson, the team’s player relations coordinator, and Ortmayer aide Les Miller. Both men had been hired by Ortmayer.

Vermeil is also about two-thirds of the way through assembling his own coaching staff. Among the casualties from Rich Brooks’ staff is Johnny Roland, who was Brooks’ assistant head coach and running back coach.

``I’m out of the mix, and unfortunately, that means if I’m going to stay in this business I’m going to have to leave St. Louis,″ said Roland, a former standout with the old St. Louis Cardinals.

Ortmayer, 52, had presided over all football operations during the team’s two seasons in St. Louis.

``The Rams are putting together a new organization, a new program,″ Vermeil said. ``There are new people bringing in new personnel. Steve should be recognized for the contribution he made to the Rams’ organization.

``However, I have not worked with Steve before and I have someone I am familiar with in mind for that position.″

That someone is Lynn Stiles. Stiles will be given Ortmayer’s old title of vice president of football operations, though he will not have nearly the power Ortmayer did. Stiles had been vice president of player personnel for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ortmayer had generally drawn high marks for his draft picks, which included quarterback Tony Banks, wide receiver Eddie Kennison and defensive lineman Kevin Carter. But many of his free-agent signings were busts, he traded away Jerome Bettis for next to nothing in return, and the team was just 13-19 during his tenure.

Vermeil is moving quickly to assemble his staff. He has already hired Jerry Rhome as offensive coordinator, Dick Coury as wide receivers coach and Frank Gansz as special teams coach.

Replacing Roland as running back coach will be Wilbert Montgomery.

Montgomery, 42, never has coached before. He played for Vermeil from 1977-82 in Philadelphia. Ironically, Roland was Montgomery’s running backs coach when he broke into the league.

Four other assistant coaches were hired Thursday:

_ Former Eagles linebacker John Bunting will be the team’s linebacker coach, coming over from Kansas City, where he held the same position.

_ Jim L. Mora, the son of the former New Orleans Saints coach, is the team’s new secondary coach. Mora had coached Saints defensive backs for the past five years.

_ George Warhop, who joined the Rams staff last season to help with the offensive line, has been retained in the same capacity. Vermeil still wants to hire a more experienced offensive line coach _ he says he always prefers to have two line coaches.

_ Also retained from Brooks’ staff was Nick Aliotti. Aliotti coached special teams last year for Brooks, but will be a defensive assistant for Vermeil.

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