Dolphins fire coach after 1-15 season
Vail, CO Colorado
DAVIE, Fla. ” Cam Cameron was fired as the Miami Dolphins’ coach Thursday by new boss Bill Parcells after plunging to an 0-13 start in his first year on the job and finishing with just one victory.
The dismissal comes three days after Parcells ousted general manager Randy Mueller and means the reeling franchise will have its fifth coach in five seasons.
Parcells began work Dec. 27 as executive vice president of football operations and quickly concluded the Dolphins need another fresh start.
It has been 37 years since the Dolphins fired a coach. But they never finished 1-15 before.
All but two members of Cameron’s coaching staff were also fired, but some might be rehired by the new head coach, the Dolphins said. Retained were assistant special teams coach Steve Hoffman and linebackers coach George Edwards.
Parcells made the decisions in consultation with new general manager Jeff Ireland, hired Wednesday after seven years in player personnel with the Dallas Cowboys. Ireland replaced Mueller, who was fired Monday after three seasons with Miami.
The early front-runner to replace Cameron is another Cowboys employee, assistant head coach Tony Sparano. He’s scheduled to interview Friday for the head coaching vacancy in Atlanta.
Cameron’s firing was announced in a morning news release.
“This is a difficult decision, and I want to thank Cam and the rest of his staff for their work this past season,” Ireland said. “By making this decision now, it gives all of the coaches the greatest chance to pursue other opportunities.”
Cameron was on the job 11 months before he earned his first victory as an NFL head coach. Until Miami beat Baltimore in overtime Dec. 16, he was in danger of becoming the first coach to go 0-16. Miami has missed the playoffs six consecutive seasons, a franchise record.
Cameron signed a four-year contract in January. Owner Wayne Huizenga hired him over at least 12 other candidates after a two-week coaching search, the most extensive since the franchise’s first season in 1966.
Other coaches, including some good ones, have been fired after only one season with a team. The list includes Cameron mentor Marty Schottenheimer (Washington in 2001), Art Shell (Oakland in 2006) and Pete Carroll (New York Jets in 1994).
Cameron maintained a consistently low-key demeanor with the media and his team. The approach won praise from the locker room during training camp, but as losses mounted, players became coy when asked if they believed in Cameron.
He was hired after five years as offensive coordinator for the high-scoring San Diego Chargers, and the Dolphins’ offense improved early in the season. But when John Beck became the third starter at quarterback this year, the unit failed to score a touchdown in three consecutive games, and the rookie returned to the bench.
Cameron took over a team that had gone 19-29 the previous three years and was in decline following a series of bad drafts. Poor depth made this season’s wave of injuries catastrophic.
Running back Ronnie Brown led the league in yards from scrimmage when he was sidelined for the season by a knee injury, and Trent Green and linebacker Zach Thomas also went on injured reserve. When 2002 NFL rushing champion Ricky Williams returned from a suspension, he lasted only six carries before a chest injury ended his season.
In addition, top receiver Chris Chambers was traded after six games.
The coach’s office became a revolving door in 2004, when Dave Wannstedt quit after nine games and was replaced by Jim Bates. Nick Saban became the coach in 2005 but lasted only two years before leaving for Alabama. He was succeeded by Cameron.
Seven coaches started a season with a team that went 1-15, and only two returned the following year. Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 his first season in Dallas in 1989 but soon was winning Super Bowls, and Mike Riley remained with San Diego despite winning only once in 2000.
Cameron’s only other head coaching job was at Indiana, where he was fired after five seasons. His career record as a head coach is 19-52.
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