YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Erhardt Lands Coordinator's Job With Jets

February 06, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Ron Erhardt is headed from the best team in the AFC to the worst in the NFL.

But it's still better than not working.

Erhardt, the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers the last four years, was released by the AFC champions last week. On Monday, he was hired for the same job by the New York Jets, along with tight ends coach Pat Hodgson, who also was let go by the Steelers.

Pittsburgh special teams coach Bobby April is also apparently leaving. Steeler Coach Bill Cowher and Saint Coach Jim Mora said April would return to his hometown team to coach. But April said he was only in discussions with several teams and had not yet been offered a position.

Cowher has already filled one of his openings by promoting receivers coach Chan Gailey to offensive coordinator. Erhardt says his firing was largely dictated by Cowher's concerns that Gailey might take another coordinator's job--perhaps, ironically, with the Jets.

Explained Erhardt: "Bill said, 'You don't have much longer here, and the other guy [Gailey] will be around a long time. If he leaves and you pull the pin on me, there'll be no continuity to the offense.'

"I was a scapegoat in that deal."

Cowher had a different point of view on Erhardt's firing.

"I know it wasn't a popular thing to do," Cowher said, "but it was one that was done in the best interests of this football team. It's the toughest thing you have to do as a coach. The players usually go home about 4 o'clock every day, but you're with the coaches seven days a week, sometimes until 10 at night. You form very close relationships."

Erhardt, who will be 65 later this month, helped turn the Steelers offense into one of the league's best. Pittsburgh was second in the AFC and sixth in the league with an average of 360.0 total yards a game.

Now he goes to a Jets team that scored 233 points during a 3-13 season in 1995. Both the win and point totals were league lows.

"I've had a similar situation over the years and it's a tremendous challenge," said Erhardt, the offensive coordinator when the New York Giants won the Super Bowl after the 1986 and 1990 seasons. "With free agency and the market the way it is, and the draft and things you can do there, we'll take a look at everything and we'll get an offense there."

Mike Shula, an assistant with the Chicago Bears for the last three seasons, became the NFL's youngest offensive coordinator when he was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The youngest son of former Miami Dolphin Coach Don Shula joins the staff of new Buccaneer Coach Tony Dungy, who said the 30-year-old former Bucs quarterback will run an offense similar to the one the Bears ran last year.

The Miami Dolphins terminated the contracts of veteran wide receiver Gary Clark and offensive lineman Bert Weidner.


California businessman Kevin McClatchy, who is in the process of buying the Pittsburgh Pirates, is undeterred by the last-minute pullout of one of his biggest investors. McClatchy filed his final paperwork with major league baseball on schedule.

McClatchy, whose $90-million takeover of the debt-ridden team was approved last week by baseball's ownership committee, now awaits a vote of the 28 club owners. He must be approved by 10 of the 14 National League owners and eight of the 14 American League owners.

The club owners' approval seemed only a formality after the ownership committee unanimously recommended approval of the sale last Wednesday, but scrap metals dealer Bill Snyder of Sewickley, Pa., yanked his $5-million investment only one day later.

Fifty-two percent of San Francisco's voters favor a measure to construct a $255-million privately financed stadium in the city's China Basin District, according to a San Francisco Chronicle poll.

Thirty-four percent oppose the measure, which will appear on the March 26 ballot, while 14% of those surveyed were either undecided or had no opinion.

Boston Red Sox infielder Wil Cordero, obtained last month from the Montreal Expos, avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a $1.85-million, one-year contract. . . . Catcher Lenny Webster agreed a $397,500 one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, avoiding arbitration.


British boxing officials want to question world champions Frank Bruno and Nigel Benn over reports they are consuming 150 vitamin pills a day in training.

Bruno, the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, and Benn, the WBC super-middleweight champ, are training together in Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands.

John Morris, the British Boxing Board of Control secretary, said he wants to make sure the boxers aren't doing anything to endanger their health.

Bruno is scheduled to defend his title against Mike Tyson in Las Vegas on March 16. Benn defends against Thulane Malinga of South Africa on March 2 in Newcastle, England.


Bob Woolf, who represented Larry Bird and other top athletes, overcharged players and engaged in an apparent conflict of interest while investing their money, according to a Boston Globe story.

Los Angeles Times Articles