Packers to hire 49ers' McCarthy as coach

Updated: January 12, 2006, 5:09 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Green Bay Packers filled their head coach vacancy with a former Brett Favre tutor, but not the one some people close to the quarterback had suggested might perhaps make an apt replacement for the deposed Mike Sherman.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson chose San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy to be the team's new coach, with an official announcement coming Thursday afternoon.

McCarthy, 42, served as the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999, working with Favre. Last week, Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, suggested his client might more likely to return to the team in 2006 if Green Bay hired Steve Mariucci, a former Packers assistant who was later the head coach in San Francisco (1997-2002) and Detroit (2003-2005).

Since leaving the Packers to become offensive coordinator of New Orleans Saints in 2000, McCarthy has maintained a relationship with Favre. It is not believed, however, that played a significant part in Thompson's decision to offer McCarthy the job.

Regarded league-wide as a very creative offensive mind, McCarthy is also known for his communication skills and ability to develop a quick rapport with his players.

The Pittsburgh native entered the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993 and served as an offensive assistant and then quarterbacks coach for six seasons before going to Green Bay in 1999. He was named the Saints' offensive coordinator in 2000 and helped then-coach Jim Haslett lead New Orleans to a division title that season. In 2005, McCarthy was hired by first-year 49ers coach Mike Nolan as offensive coordinator.

As a college coach, McCarthy served on staffs at Fort Hays State (1987-88) and the University of Pittsburgh (1989-92).

Among the quarterbacks with whom McCarthy has worked at the college and pro levels are Joe Montana, Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac, Alex Van Pelt, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Blake, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger and Aaron Brooks.

Also interviewed for the Packers position were defensive coordinators Wade Phillips (San Diego), Ron Rivera (Chicago), Tim Lewis (New York Giants) and Jim Bates (Green Bay) and offensive coordinators Maurice Carthon (Cleveland) and Sean Payton (Dallas). Thompson had arranged to interview Pittsburgh offensive line coach Russ Grimm later this week.

Sherman was dismissed the day after the season ended, after compiling a 59-43 mark in six seasons.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.