Cards To Keep McGinnis Around

Dave McGinnis, who took over as interim coach for Arizona seven games into the season, has agreed to a long-term contract to remain as coach of the Cardinals, two sources close to the team said Sunday.

Team officials had no comment on the contract status but scheduled a news conference Monday to make an announcement about the coaching situation.

Terms were not revealed, but the agreement was believed to be for at least four years, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified. McGinnis also has made it clear he wants a say in personnel matters.

The 49-year-old McGinnis was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim coach after Vince Tobin was fired following a 2-5 start. The Cardinals fell to 1-7 under McGinnis by losing 13-7 Sunday to Baltimore, but owner Bill Bidwill knows the team's vast personnel problems, not the new coach, are to blame.

After the game, McGinnis would not confirm that he would be back as coach next season.

"If I am, I will give everything in my body to this organization and this city," he said. "It would not only be an honor, it would be the start of a mission by me. All I want to do is have you happy on Sunday afternoons."

Quarterback Jake Plummer has publicly lobbied for McGinnis to get the job.

"I'm relieved, for one, because I was afraid they wouldn't," Plummer said. "From day one he's been true to us, honest, telling us just how it is. ... When he gets signed tomorrow, it's going to be a big thing for this franchise, because he's a great coach."

McGinnis, who walked away from the Chicago head coaching job in 1999 after a news conference was called to introduce him, was hired as Arizona's defensive coordinator five years ago.

He was linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears from 1986-95.

McGinnis' fiery, passionate approach made some impact when he took over. The Cardinals played New Orleans close, then upset Washington 16-15.

Two days after the victory over the Redskins, voters approved a hotel-motel tax boost and a rental car surcharge to build a stadium for the Cardinals, who have played in Sun Devil Stadium on the Arizona State University campus since moving from St. Louis in 1988.

After the victory over Washington, the Cardinals lost five in a row by an average of 24 points as a roster already short on talent was decimated by injuries.

The Cardinals activated their final three players on the practice squad on Friday.

McGinnis has repeatedly said that the team needs some major personnel changes, especially on the defensive line and the interior of the offensive line.

Two years ago, the defense was the strength of the team when it won in the playoffs for the first time in 52 years. But the team faded to 6-10 last season, and was even worse this year.

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