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'Mooch': I'm staying out west

June 28, 2008
By Kurt Mensching - Marquette Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Steve Mariucci has not ruled out returning to the head coaching ranks again some day.

But much to the chagrin of Green Bay Packers fans or Yoopers hoping to see the Iron Mountain native nicknamed "Mooch" return home, his return would likely be in northern California.

"The right situation may never present itself again," Mariucci said, "because we've decided as a family not to move anymore. We are back in northern California in our home and we settled back in. I've moved my wife 18 times, and I don't want to move again, nor does she. Our home base is going to be in the Bay Area. It's that simple.

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Steve Mariucci

"For me to coach again, it either has to be on the West Coast or I would have to commute."

He was linked this offseason to a possible return with the Washington Redskins before signing a three-year contract extension with the National Football League's television network. However, he could break that deal to continue a coaching career, he said.

Interestingly, Mariucci is open to coaching at the college level, as long as it's a major program. The only two schools that fit his guidelines, he said, are the University of California, located north of Oakland in Berkeley, and Stanford University, which is south of San Francisco in Palo Alto.

"Once you make a commitment to do that, you've got to make the commitment hook, line and sinker, and it's best to dig in the community," Mariucci said. "That's one thing, (Redskins owner) Dan Snyder was hoping that I'd be able to move my family to Washington and I told him I wasn't willing to do that."

Mariucci was Cal's head coach in 1996, the San Francisco 49ers' head coach 1997-2002, and the Detroit Lions' coach from 2003-2005.

He was fired from the Lions job and has not coached since.

"I have more free time now than I used to," he laughed.

He remains busy while the NFL is in season, and other key times such as the combine, but his next assignment is the Hall of Fame game in August.

"Right now I have time to chase around my kids, I've got four kids keeping me very busy along with my wife," he said, adding he leaves today to watch his daughter player volleyball in the Junior Olympics in Dallas. "I get to come home to Iron Mountain once a month to see my dad (Ray Mariucci). I get to do those sort of things I didn't get to do as often back then."

While he remains friends with some members of the Lions' organization and hopes they win, Mariucci got in a slight jab at Matt Millen, the team's general manager who fired him.

"Matt Millen has changed 58 coaches already, and he's now finally changing players," Mariucci said. "Sure I've stayed in touch with some of them and some of the coaches, and on occasion Bill Ford Jr. - I respect the heck out of Bill, he'll take that team over some day."

He noted that the wife of current Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli is one of his daughter's godparents, along with Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo.

"There's a circle of coaches and we know each other very well," Mariucci said."So from that standpoint, I hope they do well. I always pull for my friends there."

And Mariucci did think the Lions had a chance to do well this season, as he expects the NFC North Division to have a down year.

"Brett Favre leaving the Packers, and Minnesota without a veteran quarterback, and the Bears - I think the Bears hit a high water mark a few years ago and kind of leveled off a bit - I think the division is up for grabs. But it's been an interesting seven or eight years down there."



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