NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets stayed in the AFC East to find their new head coach.
Former Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase agreed Wednesday night to take the Jets job, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The hiring ends a 10-day, wide-open search for New York, which met with seven other coaches about their vacancy, including Mike McCarthy, Kris Richard, Jim Caldwell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule and Kliff Kingsbury, who took the Arizona Cardinals job.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the hiring.
Gase was 23-26 in three years with Miami, including a playoff game in the 2016 season, before being fired last week. It turns out he’ll remain in the division, and face the Dolphins twice every regular season as a rival head coach.
Gase replaces Todd Bowles, who was fired after he went 24-40 in four seasons and no playoff appearances. He’s the Jets’ first hire with previous full-time NFL head coaching experience since Bill Parcells’ three-year tenure from 1997-99.
The 40-year-old Gase is also the first offensive-focused coach since Rich Kotite in 1996.
Regarded as one of the league’s top young offensive minds, he’ll be tasked with furthering the development of quarterback Sam Darnold and helping New York snap an eight-year postseason drought.
While he had control over personnel in Miami, Gase will work closely in New York with general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was retained by team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, to put together a competitive roster around Darnold. The Jets are expected to have around $100 million in salary cap space this offseason, and will be very active in free agency.
Those factors combined, Johnson insisted leading into the team’s search, made the Jets an attractive spot for a head coach to land.
“If you can make it here, you’re a freakin’ legend,” Johnson said. “That counts for something.”
Gase will get his shot to do just that.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at LSU in 2000 under Nick Saban before becoming a recruiting assistant for the Tigers for two years. Gase’s first NFL job came in 2003 under Steve Mariucci in Detroit, where he worked his way up to quarterbacks coach in five years with the Lions. He also worked for Rod Marinelli and Mike Martz in Detroit.
Gase followed Martz to San Francisco in 2008 before heading to Denver the following season. He worked as the Broncos’ wide receivers coach for two years before becoming the quarterbacks coach — where he worked closely with Manning — and was promoted to offensive coordinator by coach John Fox in 2013 and Denver’s offense set several league records during Gase’s two seasons calling the plays.
Fox brought Gase along with him to Chicago in 2015 as his offensive coordinator. Seen as a rising star in the league, he was hired by the Dolphins as their head coach the following season.
Gase had a promising debut in Miami, going 10-6 in his first season and leading the Dolphins to their first playoff appearance since 2008. But the team struggled the following year, going 6-10 with quarterback Ryan Tannehill sidelined all season following knee surgery.
Gase was fired after this season as part of an organizational shake-up after the Dolphins finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. There were also questions about whether Gase had lost the support of some players.
Miami ranked 31st in the NFL in offense, a franchise worst, and 29th in defense, allowing a franchise-record 6,257 yards this season.
Gase’s Dolphins were particularly good in one-score games, going 7-1 in those situations this season and 20-6 in three years. Their record in games decided by more than one score was 3-20, including 0-8 this season. Miami also lost its last seven games on the road.
He’ll try to change his fortunes — as well as those of the Jets — with a new opportunity.
ESPN reported that Darnold spoke with Gase on FaceTime on Monday night, and the two clicked. It also reported that Manning called Johnson Tuesday night to provide a sparkling reference for Gase.
The hiring was met with some trepidation from frustrated Jets fans, many of whom were pulling for McCarthy, Monken or Rhule to be hired to turn the franchise around and end a Super Bowl drought that’s 50 years and counting.
The franchise’s hope is that the combination of Gase and Darnold will be able to get there someday soon.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed.
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