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Dungy Closing in on Bucs’ Coaching Job

January 22, 1996

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Tony Dungy, laughing and all smiles after meeting with the team owner, appeared set Sunday night to become coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator had dinner with club owner Malcolm Glazer and seemed all but officially named the successor to Sam Wyche, who was fired Dec. 27. .

``I feel good,″ Dungy said. ``It looks like it’s going to go well. There’s still a couple of little things to do. I think Mr. Glazer is going to make all the comments.″

Asked if it was a done deal, Dungy hesitated and then laughed before climbing into a truck driven by Bucs general manager Rich McKay.

Dungy’s wife, and Bryan and Joel Glazer, sons of the Tampa Bay owner, also dined at the steakhouse.

The rest of the dinner party smiled for television cameras, but did not stop for interviews amid speculation the team will make an announcement Monday.

Dungy denied weekend reports the job already had been offered. But he was optimistic Sunday during an interview on One on One Sports Radio Network in Northbrook, Ill., where he was an analyst during the NFL playoffs.

``We’re kinda winding down the process. A lot of things have taken place,″ Dungy said. ``... I think you’re never sure until it actually happens, but I have very good feelings about it. I think the Tampa people feel good about me.″

Team officials continued Sunday to deny a Tampa Tribune report that an offer had been made.

``The head coaching position of the Buccaneers has not been formally offered to Tony at this point,″ McKay said. ``We have maintained all along that a very important step in the process of naming a new coach would be a meeting with the owners. That is the purpose of Tony’s trip to Tampa.″

Dungy, 40, would become Tampa Bay’s sixth head coach. He would also become the fourth youngest head coach in the league.

Other possible candidates for the job include New Orleans coach Jim Mora, according to newspaper reports. But Mora announced Jan. 12 he would fulfill the final year of his contract with the Saints.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday that Dungy began lining up assistant coaches last week while in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl.

``I talked with some people, but I haven’t said, `Hey, this thing is done,″ he said, adding that Saints linebacker coach Jimmy Haslett would be the favorite for defensive coordinator.

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