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Phillips to replace Parcells in Dallas

IRVING, Texas (Feb. 8, 2007) -- The Dallas Cowboys hired Wade Phillips as their new coach to replace the retired Bill Parcells.

Phillips' hiring was confirmed by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Cowboys had not introduced the coach.

The Cowboys scheduled a late afternoon news conference. While the team wouldn't give the reason for the news conference, it was following the same procedure as it has for past coaching hires, including Parcells four years ago.

The 59-year-old Phillips, the son of longtime Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, spent the last three seasons as San Diego's defensive coordinator. He is a former NFL head coach who has been in the league 30 of the last 31 years.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones left the Valley Ranch complex early in the afternoon Feb. 8, apparently to meet with Phillips and his agent, Gary O'Hagan, at a different location.

Jones interviewed 10 candidates to become the Cowboys' seventh coach, the sixth he will hire since buying the team in 1989. Parcells retired Jan. 22 after four seasons in Dallas and 19 as an NFL head coach.

Phillips joins Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson as the only Texas natives to be in charge of "America's Team." Parcells is the only other coach who had previous head coaching experience before getting to Dallas.

His departure would be another loss for San Diego. Last month, Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron who became the Miami Dolphins' new coach.

Phillips' head coaching record is 48-42 over three years with Buffalo, two with Denver and season-ending interim stints with New Orleans and Atlanta. That includes 3-4 as a fill-in and 0-3 in the playoffs, most notably the "Music City Miracle," when Tennessee used a trick kick return for the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.

The last candidates interviewed by Jones were two Super Bowl assistants, Indianapolis assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell on Feb. 7 and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera a day earlier.

San Francisco assistant Norv Turner, a two-time head coach and the offensive coordinator for two of the Cowboys' Super Bowl titles in the 1990s, had been viewed by many as the front-runner for the job.

Jones also interviewed New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs, 49ers assistant and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary and three of Parcells' assistants.

Jason Garrett was hired Jan. 25 for an unspecified role on the staff, likely as offensive coordinator, after he interviewed for the head coaching vacancy. Garrett, a backup to Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman in Dallas from 1993-99, was quarterbacks coach in Miami the last two seasons -- his only coaching experience.

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