Stephen Ross And Jeff Ireland Press Conference And Transcript

Posted Dec 12, 2011

Watch the video and read a transcript as Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland meet with the press to discuss the coaching change.

Owner Stephen Ross/General Manager Jeff Ireland

Stephen Ross: “Good afternoon. Today I would like to announce that the Miami Dolphins are making a change in our head coaching staff and that Todd Bowles will be the new interim head coach. He will replace Tony Sparano who really has been a wonderful person. He’s done a wonderful job with the Miami Dolphins. And it’s a lot of regret that I feel that it’s in the best interest in the Miami Dolphins that we replace him at this time. As you know, when I purchased the team I told you there was nothing more important to me at all than being a winning team and bringing back the glory to Miami that it had in the past. What’s happened has been a lot of distraction that’s been occurring and speculation with regard if Tony (Sparano) will stay, if Tony will go, what will happen. I think in the interest of the football team and the development of this team that this is the time that we need to make a change. It will allow us to have plenty of time to interview and find what I hope will be the coach that will lead us back to the glory of the past. We will make a full effort in looking at everybody who we think really can do the job and we will do that until we find the right person. Tony has really worked tirelessly for this team. He’s built a great foundation. I think the team as you all know by the record is not indicative of I think what the team is capable of. The foundation is there to build a winning team. Tony has also, I got to tell you, I’ve never met a man who really loves his players and really is committed to these players. I think he really tried in the best way he could to develop the Miami Dolphins. I think Todd Bowles will do an outstanding job as the new head coach. As you all know he’s the assistant head coach. He has the respect of his players. I think he will exert the same dedication that Tony has and his staff has and I’ve been assured that they will all work with Todd as the interim head coach the remainder of this season as we continue to develop these players and build the foundation for the future. The search process will start immediately. It will be thorough as I said before and we believe that we can find the best possible candidate for this position. We will use all the resources of this organization to undercover and find that person. Any questions?”

(On when he made the decision that this was the right move for the Dolphins) - “Probably the final decision was made this morning.”

(On how Tony Sparano is took the news) - “As you know Tony has put his heart and soul in this team. Obviously he wasn’t very happy about it. I think he understood. He might have even been relieved because he’s been under a tremendous amount of pressure and you could probably see it on his face.”

(On how tough a decision this was to make) - “It’s always a tough decision when you try to replace a good man. Tony is really what I would call an excellent man and certainly has put a total effort into this position. But I think what South Florida wants is really a winning team. I thought this would give us the opportunity to go out and find a head coach that can really lead us back.”

(On what characteristics he is looking for in a head coach) - “We’re open to everything. I think you have to look at it there’s pluses and minuses in all situations. I’d like to find a young Don Shula if that’s possible (laughing). Certainly we will look at everybody, interview them and try to find the person we think would be the best fit.”

(On if Todd Bowles will be in the head coach mix after the season) - “Yes. Todd Bowles will be in the mix. We will interview Todd Bowles.”

(On what Jeff Ireland’s role will be in the coaching search) - “I will work with Jeff, directly with Jeff. Jeff is the General Manager. Jeff will remain the General Manager and we will work together in finding the head coach.”

(On the report of Carl Peterson being hired) - “Carl Peterson is a good friend. He works for me now in Fan Vision and I haven’t had conversations with him with regard to that.”

(On Jeff Ireland remaining in charge of all football operation decisions, is that correct)-“That is correct.”

(On after starting 0-7, was there anything that Coach Sparano could have done to save his job) - “The answer is it really wasn’t a question about what he could have done. I think Tony (Sparano) gave his full effort. I think the results speak for themselves. I think we’re looking to really coming back to being a winning organization. I thought this is the best time to make that change and to go into a direction to allow us to become that.”

(On if Coach Sparano did win the remaining games after 0-7, it still would not save his job) - “I mean, I can’t say that. There’s plus and minuses. One minute it’s yes, one minute it’s no. I didn’t come to a definite conclusion. And I thought when I woke up today seeing what happened yesterday and knowing that we wanted to develop the players and seeing it really became much of a distraction. I thought it was best that we could focus on football and now it would be the time to change.”

(On how much did the fans not attending home games impact your decision) -“Well, I mean certainly when you’re winning it’s a lot easier to sell tickets. There’s no question about it, but I think you can see the excitement that was starting to be generated when we won last week when we beat Oakland. I think when you have a winning product the fans will respond and the seats will be filled, so certainly when if you win everything takes care of itself and that’s what we’re really trying to bring back.”

(On how much pressure did the fans reactions impact the decision) -“No, I mean you read the press, and you can listen to fans, everybody has an opinion. And I think you have to feel it yourself. You can’t react just to what the fans or what the press believes, or pressures you to do.”

Jeff Ireland: (On what are some of the things you’re looking for in a head coach) -“Well, obviously you’re looking for experience. I think you’re looking for the best candidate out there, a guy that’s been in the trenches before for some of the same qualities that I saw in Tony (Sparano). A guy that’s a tireless worker and understands offensive and defense so we’re going to talk about those things as the weeks goes by and what were exactly looking for and iron out a plan that best fits what Mr. (Stephen) Ross is looking for. And I know the guy is going to be a football guy. I know that’s for sure.”

(On feeling responsible for the team and Coach Sparano’s situation) -“We all feel responsibility for what happened today, we all do. This is a game of winning. And when you don’t win, you feel responsibility for that. I got responsibility in it. Mr. (Stephen) Ross has responsibility in it. Our players have responsibility and ultimately Tony (Sparano) had the ultimate responsibility in it. And it’s a difficult day for me. He’s a friend of mine. He’s been a colleague of mine from before we got here together. And I’m not happy about being a part of this decision. But it was a decision that Mr. Ross and I made together. And we’re looking forward at this point and moving forward at this point in getting the next head coach for this franchise.”

(On the foundation in the locker room right now) -“Well, I do feel like there’s a foundation. My hats off to Tony Sparano for building that foundation he developed a lot of players around here, we did a lot of good things together. The staff has done some great things with our young players, and some of the veteran players that we brought in here. I thought at a point during the season when we did go we were four and five of the last five games that you can see the development of some of the young players that were brought through here. But I do feel like there’s a foundation here. There’s obviously things we need to address. I’m not saying that it’s a perfect team right now. We have some things that we need to address in the immediate future and we’re going to work tireless to not only find a head coach, but to upgrade the roster.”

Stephen Ross: (On if he would consider a head coach who wanted control of football operations) - “Would I? We are looking for the best head coach. Jeff (Ireland) is in charge of personnel. He’s in charge of that area. I think that it’s important that the head coach and general manager to be able to work together. So you’re not going to find someone who’s going to have a conflict to start with and certainly I think you want to take the time and one the reason why no to do it is you want to be able to have the time to talk to people so do you create that chemistry that’s really required creating a winning environment.”

(On if with a new head coach will the team be rebuilding next season and how high of a priority is it to find a young quarterback) - “Well, finding a quarterback is obviously essential. And I think everybody kind of recognizes there’s a great foundation here to build upon. It’s not starting over again. This isn’t the way the team was when Jeff (Ireland) and Bill Parcells and Tony (Sparano) came in. They really had to rebuild the entire roster. Anybody and everybody that I have spoken with really has a lot of respect for the Miami Dolphins and the roster that they have and how hard that they play. So I think that there’s a few changes I think that need to be made. I think we’ll make those changes and hopefully we’ll start winning immediately.”
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins