He has something of a temper. He’s a player’s coach and a m
IRVING, Texas (AP) _ He has something of a temper. He’s a player’s coach and a master strategist.
No, the Chicago Bears didn’t rehire Mike Ditka.
But they did pick a guy in the Ditka mold when they hired Dave Wannstedt, defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, as their new coach on Tuesday.
Wannstedt is an all-out competitor who has difficulty at times masking his emotions. His players love him. And there’s not an offense in the NFL that has fooled him for long.
″Dave Wannstedt has come a long way and will be an outstanding coach in the NFL,″ best friend and Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson said. ″I can remember playing racquetball with him years ago when I was an assistant coach at Pittsburgh and Dave was trying to figure out what he wanted to do. He was as tough a competitor as there was and I told him he ought to be a coach some day.″
Little did Johnson realize he would be working for him. Johnson lost his good right arm when Wannstedt finally landed a job.
″It’s an emotional day for me,″ Johnson said.
Once Chicago jumped into the bidding war for Wannstedt, who has led the Cowboys to the No. 1 defense in the NFL, the New York Giants stood little chance.
Chicago was deemed an excellent choice for Wannstedt’s family and Wannstedt is a strong family man.
Wannstedt didn’t want to go against Johnson twice a year in the NFC East. He knew that their friendship couldn’t stand the strain.
″Dave knows me better than I know myself,″ Johnson said. ″It wouldn’t have worked.″
Also, Wannstedt has a temper but not of legendary proportions like Ditka’s or Johnson’s for that matter.
″He’s basically an even-keel guy,″ Johnson said. ″But he does get frustrated at times like all coaches do. He’ll have to learn to adjust the controls on his emotions.″
Johnson said the players love to play for him because of his enthusiasm.
″The players rally around him,″ Johnson said.
″Coach Wannstedt is a great guy to play for,″ said defensive tackle Tony Casillas. ″You know going into a game your are going to be prepared.″
Wannstedt is excellent at developing players. The 1991 season opened for Dallas with six starters at the 11 positions and the Cowboys got into the playoffs.
This year, Wannstedt had a rookie middle linebacker and a rookie left corner starting for the NFL’s best defense.
The Bears aren’t on the Cowboys schedule next year.
So what happens when Johnson and protege Wannstedt meet?
″The master never teaches too much,″ Johnson said.