Mooch Truly A Players Coach
August 9 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Steve Mariucci has been praised, he’s been criticized, but through it all, a few things remain clear: 1) Mariucci believes that he should be appealing to players at all times, associating himself with them, and building relations. 2) The team remains committed to Mariucci no matter what the media might say. 3) Steve Mariucci remains committed to the 49ers. 4) Relations between the coach and management are not an issue.
Mariucci has long been known as a players coach, and this year in camp he’s certainly proved. Already this summer, Mariucci has give players an extra day of summer, shortened a week of practice and most recently played a practical joke on some of the players in conjunction with Candid Camera. Terrell Owens, Scott Gragg, Mike Rumph, Kevin Curtis, Dana Stubblefield and Jason Baker were all victims to the prank, that involved being interviewed by a radio host who was awfully confused, and in taping commercials for products such as ‘lice remover’.
Both Owner John York and General Manager Terry Donahue have recently spoken out in favour of Mariucci. “At the end of the season, regardless of what goes on during the season, Steve and I will sit down and discuss an extension,” said York. Clearly the 49ers want success from their coach, but despite what some believe, Mariucci does not need to beat the Rams or win the Super Bowl this season to secure a new contract with the 49ers. Donahue was quite optimistic about Mariucci’s future too: "I think everything will work out. I think Steve will be our coach for the long haul. I think he and John and Denise will be able to get to a conclusion that is satisfactory for both parties. I don't think it'll necessarily be easy. I think Steve will be a 49er coach (long term), but I don't know when that will get accomplished.”
York also stated that Mariucci has told him in no uncertain terms that he wants to be the coach of the 49ers. York stated “He has told me that directly”. This of course should quickly end any talk about Mariucci fishing around for coaching jobs elsewhere.
Finally Mariucci and Donahue recently made it public knowledge that they have been socializing away from the team for the first time this off-season. The two have a mutual respect for one another, and are finally building up the strictly business relationship.