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Walton, 10 Assistants Fired by Jets

December 27, 1989|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Joe Walton was fired Tuesday after seven years as coach of the New York Jets. Walton's staff also was fired by new General Manager Dick Steinberg.

The Jets finished the season 4-12, their worst record under Walton, who was 53-57-1.

"What we've done is tell Joe Walton and his staff that we're going to make a change," Steinberg said. "Mike Hickey (director of player personnel) has tendered his resignation. Jim Royer (pro personnel director) has been retained as director of pro scouting, with his duties defined a little differently.

"All of the scouts will be retained. I guess that's enough damage for one day."

Walton, who was at the news conference, said, "The only statement I have to make was to wish the New Yorks Jets, Dick Steinberg and especially (owner) Mr. Leon Hess all the best in the future."

Steinberg is said to have a long list of potential replacements that includes former San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren and Cincinnati Bengal offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet--both of whom were recommended by Bill Walsh when the former 49er coach turned down the Jet job.

Fired from Walton's staff were offensive coordinator Rich Kotite, defensive coordinator Ralph Hawkins, and assistants Zeke Bratkowski, Ray Callahan, Wally Chambers, Mike Faulkiner, Bobby Hammond, Rod Humenuik, Larry Pasquale and Jim Vechiarella. Steinberg met with all of them except Pasquale, who was fired by phone.

Walton said: "I had nine good years with the Jets (he was an assistant for two seasons before replacing Walt Michaels in 1983). We've had our ups and downs, but I've certainly enjoyed them all."

When Steinberg was hired earlier this month as the Jets' first general manager in 15 years, he was given full authority to run the football operation.

Steinberg earlier approached Walsh, who led the 49ers to three Super Bowl championships before retiring to a broadcasting career after the 1988 season. However, Walsh said he was not interested.

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