CHAIRMAN AND CEO CLARK HUNT
Opening Statement: "This is a very exciting day for me and my family and everyone affiliated with the Chiefs organization. A week ago today, when I began the search for our next head coach, I outlined a specific set of criteria that I believe best described the ideal candidate for our job. I knew that I wanted a proved leader who has built a successful program; I knew I was looking for an effective communicator, teacher and someone with a high football I.Q. and a strong work ethic. Finally – most importantly – I wanted a man of integrity, who would hold himself and those around him accountable to get the job done. What I didn't know when I laid out those criteria last week was that I was effectively describing Andy Reid. Naturally, I was pleased to find someone who matched what I was looking for. I was even more excited once I spent time with Andy and got to know him as a person. He is warm and engaging, down to earth and we hit it off right away. It was fun to talk football with him; he is intelligent, receptive and you can tell that he has been around the game a long time. He is also humble, honest and appreciative of the opportunity to be a head coach in the National Football League. Andy is a proven winner who built an outstanding program in Philadelphia over the last 14 years. During his tenure with the Eagles, his teams qualified for the playoffs nine times and his teams went to the NFC Championship game five times. Andy led the Eagles to six NFC East division titles and the 2004 NFC Championship. He is fifth in career victories among active coaches and has been named NFL Coach of the Year three times during his career. As a teacher and communicator, he has demonstrated a unique ability to motivate his players. His knowledge of the game and humble, hardworking approach to his craft has made him one of the most respected voices in the National Football League.
"In addition to his abilities as a coach, Andy is a man of integrity who cares deeply about his family and the people that he works with. He is well respected around the league for his character, humility and the genuine compassion that he demonstrates for his coaches, players, colleagues and most of all, his family. We are excited today because we are not only welcoming Andy to the Chiefs family but also his lovely wife Tammy. Spending time with Tammy over the last few days, it is already apparent that she will be an outstanding addition to our Chiefs family and an engaged member of the Kansas City community. We are so glad to have her here in Kansas City, and we appreciate her sharing Andy with us.
"I am very excited to begin this new chapter in Chiefs history today by welcoming the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid."
HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Opening Statement: "I am very excited to be a Kansas City Chief. I had a small stint in Columbia, Mo., at the University of Missouri as a football coach and the offensive line coach. My family and myself, we loved every moment of that opportunity. When Clark called – I have been in this league a long time – and there are certain families that stand out. The Hunt family is just top; they are phenomenal, phenomenal people. When Clark is the CEO and Chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs, when he called, he immediately had my attention. I completely understand his values and the organizational values which he possesses. The fan base here is phenomenal; I came from a fan base that was tremendous. The Kansas City Chiefs fan base – there is nothing like the sea of red. I had an opportunity to play here and play against the Chiefs, and it is tough. I can't wait to invite other teams in to be challenged by the Chiefs kingdom; it is a great environment. With that, with the great job they have done taking Arrowhead Stadium and turning it into this monster with all the great additions that have been added to it and with all of the community support, as a head coach, you just can't ask for more."
How did Clark Hunt sweep you off your feet when you decided to come to Kansas City? "Clark and members of this organization paid me a visit. What I thought would be a three hour meeting turned out to be a nine hour meeting and it probably could have gone on a lot longer than that. There was a certain energy that started with Clark and radiated with the people that I had a chance to meet with. As we talked, you got this feeling that this is the right thing to do. It made the decision easy. I crossed my fingers hoping that I would be offered the job, and I was."
How do you get back to the level you were at from 2000-05 as opposed to the last few years? "The last couple of years weren't good enough. I look at the whole picture of those 14 years, and I take responsibility for each one of them. I understand the energy that I have and that I can bring to the organization. We will start from the bottom, and we will start working. I'll make sure that I bring a good staff, and we will get down to it. My job is to be the head football coach, and that is what we are going to do. We are going to coach hard and make sure that we build a foundation."
What do you think about this roster? "I have looked at the roster and there are some good football players on this team. I look to add to that, I think that's important. We can all get better – me included. The quarterback position, I will dig in and look at that and we will build it. We will see how that works out, we need to spend some time on that – I need to find the next Len Dawson. It might be right here, it might not. I have to dig in, and I need a little time on that."
How long do you think it will take you to settle in and start player evaluations? "We have to go through that process and we will dig in. When Clark hires a general manager, we'll get to that part. We will make sure that the coaches and the General Manager will get in and analyze the team. The coaches that were here left evaluations of the team and those will obviously be taken into consideration. It's a process, and it will take a little bit of time to get in there and make sure we do it the right way."
Was there any thought in your mind of taking a year off? "I'm ready to go now. This is what I do, so I'm ready to go. I never took that into consideration."
Do you have any regrets about your time in Philadelphia? "I don't. I can leave Philadelphia saying that I gave it my all. I can leave Philadelphia with some great years. I was there a long time as were some of my staff members. We were blessed to be there and sometimes change is good; change will be tremendous for the Philadelphia Eagles and on the other hand, it will be terrific for the Kansas City Chiefs."
What is the feature that you look for in a quarterback? "There are a lot of things and they are all different. You have got to be able to win football games, and that is what it comes down to. You can evaluate a lot of different things, but ultimately, what it comes down to is you have to be able to win football games. That's how you go about your evaluation."
What similarities do you see between your situation in Philadelphia and the one you have here? "With the exception of the expansion of the Cleveland Browns at that time; we were the lowest team with the worst records in the league. That's the same thing that we are right now. That would be the similarity there. I would tell you that there are some good football players on this team and it is important to continue to build on that. Every team goes through a bit of a transition. Teams get old and then they have to start over and continue to build from the ground up. That's what Scott and Clark have committed to so we will continue to do that."
Will you have any input in the decision of the new GM. And what part of your staff do you already have built or will you consider keeping any of the current guys? "As far as the coaches go, I have gone through and met with all of the guys and I will make that evaluation as we go. I had a great visit with them, and they are some great guys. Romeo [Crennel] and I are friends, and I have a lot of respect for him. He built a good staff. As far as the general manager goes, I'm leaving that up to Clark. I will sit in on the interviews with him, but the final decision is his."
On the staff, will you interview them here, what's the process? "Here's what I did this morning; I got in early and started the interview process. I started with the oldest down to the youngest, that's the way it went. They had an opportunity to have a platform to talk and I had the opportunity to talk to them. There was positive interaction between all of us. We are all in the same profession together, and they deserve a chance to have an opportunity. There will be some that come with, but I'm still in that process."
Do you have any sense if you'll go with the 4-3, 3-4, and after meeting with Scott did you decide that you didn't want to work with him, how did that work? "Scott and I are friends, but that was taken care of before me and worked out between Scott and Clark. In regards to the 4-3, 3-4, I'M evaluating that right now. I understand the values in both. I've been a 4-3 guy, and I've played against a 3-4 so I got it and understand it. There has been an effort to bring in players that work in the 3-4, so I will look at that first and go from there."
Clark, you said that you are restructuring the organization. Could you clarify that and how you envision your role now and does that mean you'll be spending more time at the facilities? "We have restructured the organization. Historically the head coach has answered to the general manager and the general manager answered to the CEO. Beginning with Andy joining the organization, the coach will report directly to me and the general manager will report directly to me. It will change my day-to-day interaction, I will have a lot more interaction with the head coach than I have in the past. Most of my interaction has been with the general manager from a football standpoint. I spend quite a bit of time here, and I'm not sure if it will go up or down. Whether I'm here or not it's easy to be in contact with Andy on a daily basis in today's technology world."
This past year the fans had a difficult time, are you hoping they come back and what reassurance can you give them? "Absolutely. My job, and the reason I was hired is to produce a productive football team, one that can challenge these other great teams in the National Football League and win games. That's what I'm going to start to do. I welcome them all back. I'm welcoming the other teams back. I want them to see the sea of red. I want them to see what I saw when I came here to play, a very energetic and aggressive crowd. I love that. My job is to get a good product for them, and I'm going to work my tail off to put that together."
Who will make the final decision on player personnel? "That would be the general manager, and really the general manager will pass that through Clark."
As you put your staff together is it important that coordinators have head coaching experience? "No, that's not important at all. I want to try and get the best guy in that I possibly can on offense and defense, that's the way I would like to approach it."
What was said in the conversations between you and Dick Vermeil? "Dick is a very close friend; he has called me once a week since I've been in the National Football League. He considers the Hunt family at the top of the list. He has said nothing but good things about the Hunts and the city of Kansas City and the organization."
How are you going to handle the quarterback situation? "I'm going to study the heck out of the guys that are here and have a chance to meet those guys. Then I'll have a chance to evaluate that at that point. We have some guys to be in a solid position. It might not happen this year, you never know. The important thing is you do the right thing. We have been blessed with the No. 1 pick in the draft, and you want to make sure you do the right thing and pick the right guy, not necessarily a quarterback, it has to be the right thing. You don't want to force anything. People that do that get themselves in trouble."
CHAIRMAN AND CEO CLARK HUNT
How many interviews were scheduled? "We had more interviews scheduled after Coach Reid, but we made the decision that we didn't need to pursue those. Andy also had some interviews, but on Wednesday, we had a pretty good feeling on the direction which we were headed. By no means was it a done deal at that point; Andy mentioned to me that he wanted to bring Tammy to Kansas City for a chance to see the city. He wanted to see the facilities and we did that on Friday. By the end of the day it was apparent that it was a perfect match and we were able to get the deal done."
What was the interview structure like? "We decided to have a fairly large interview team in large part because I wanted the candidates to get a good feel for the organization. In today's NFL, the business side and the football side need to work closely together, and that has never been more true than it is today. I felt it was important for Andy to have a chance to speak with some people on the business side of the organization as well as the football side."
Was there a moment that you realized something needed to be done with the organization? "It was a very hard year on all of us – my family, the fans, and the organization – both on and off the field. I don't want to say that there was any one moment where I realized that I had to do something about it, but when you are not successful in the National Football League, it is a certainty that change is coming. I'm glad that 2012 is in the rearview mirror at this point and that we are off to 2013. In Andy, we already have our first victory."
Do you have a timetable to find a general manager? "We have already started that process and we have a list of candidates. We don't have a timeline per say, but I do hope that we can have this wrapped up as soon as we can. One of the advantages of having Andy on board as quickly as he is, is that it will help us from the standpoint of attracting assistant coaches. I think the same thing can be said on the GM front; the GM that we hire will know where we are from a head coaching standpoint. The sooner the better, but I cannot give a timeframe."