Holmgren decides to coach Seahawks for another season

Updated: January 22, 2008, 8:18 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Mike Holmgren has decided to return as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

Holmgren, who has one year left on his contract, informed the team Tuesday he will return for the 2008 season.

Over the weekend, he spent time with his wife and family in Phoenix trying to decide if he wanted to return. He showed up at team headquarters Tuesday and announced his decision to his staff and front office.

"Kathy and I came to this decision to finish my contract," Holmgren said. "This will be my last year. We are going to make it the best year ever.

"And then probably after that, I will take a little time off -- but not yet. We are going to go after it hard."

The Seahawks have a likely heir to Holmgren in place: Jim Mora. Holmgren added Mora, 46, to his staff as the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach soon after Mora was fired as head coach of the Falcons on New Year's Day 2007. Mora led Atlanta for three seasons and went to the NFC Championship Game in his first season there, in 2004.

Pair of Aces

Mike Holmgren is one of only two coaches in NFL history who've won at least three division titles with two different teams. Marty Schottenheimer is the other.

Schottenheimer Holmgren
Seasons 21 16
Regular season W-L 200-126-1 157-99
Win pct. .613 .613
Division titles 8 8
Super Bowls 0 3*
*Two with Packers, one with Seahawks

"The transition beyond this year should be really smooth. The organization is healthy," Holmgren said.

He didn't mention Mora by name, leaving talk of his successor "for another press conference. I won't be there."

Mora went to junior high and high school in the Seattle area while his father was an assistant at the University of Washington. Last week, as Holmgren was in Arizona contemplating, Mora removed himself from consideration for the vacant head-coaching job with the Washington Redskins following two days of interviews.

Holmgren said Tuesday that Mora and all other defensive assistants will remain in their same roles in 2008.

Holmgren, a father to four daughters and grandfather to four more girls, emphasized he did not want next season to be "a farewell tour" that would take focus away from his team.

And he did not rule out a return to football in 2010 or beyond.

"Oh, I think you always have to say that's a possibility," he said, "but that's very speculative at this point."

Holmgren's record with Green Bay and Seattle, where he arrived in 1999, is 170-110, one win behind Joe Gibbs for 10th in NFL history. Holmgren is 86-68 in nine seasons with Seattle. He passed Chuck Knox this season for most victories by a Seahawks coach.

He coached the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI and led the Seahawks to an appearance in Super Bowl XL two seasons ago.

Seattle won its fourth consecutive NFC West title in 2007 and will return the core of its team next season. Five of the Seahawks' six division titles have come with Holmgren as coach.

Holmgren came to the Seahawks in 1999 as the coach and general manager. Over the past three seasons, he has been just the head coach. Tim Ruskell was hired as general manager in 2005.

After each season, Holmgren takes a week and tries to reflect on the season and whether or not he wants to coach. This year was no different. In 2006, he signed a two-year extension that runs through the 2008 season.

Holmgren said he will make some changes to his coaching staff on the offensive side.

Offensive line coach Bill Laveroni will not be back, a move not unexpected with the struggles Seattle had running effectively the last two seasons. Laveroni had been the Seahawks line coach since 2004.

Laveroni's assistant, Keith Gilbertson is being shifted to receivers coach, after Nolan Cromwell left to become the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M for new Aggies' coach Mike Sherman. Offensive assistant Gary Reynolds also is joining Sherman's staff.

John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer