NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans fired coach Mike Munchak, the Hall of Fame offensive lineman who’s been with the Oilers/Titans franchise for more than 30 years, on Saturday.
Munchak compiled a three-season mark of 22-26 and did not take the team to the playoffs, even after late owner Bud Adams signed off on free-agent contracts worth over $100 million in the spring.
“First I want to thank Mike Munchak for his professionalism through this process and thank him for his years of dedication to the Titans/Oilers organization,” general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. “He is first-class and I wish him and his family nothing but the best.
“… The last week has been a difficult time trying to navigate through many issues to find the best resolution for this franchise moving forward. Tough choices were presented to all sides and the end result was to part ways and move forward without Mike. We will immediately begin a search for a new head coach.”
Munchak has a 2-20 record against teams that have finished seasons with a winning record, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
He had no experience as a head coach or coordinator when Adams hand-picked the Titans offensive line coach to replace Jeff Fisher when the team parted ways with its longtime head coach in 2011.
Munchak had one year remaining on his deal, as do the majority of his assistants. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and senior assistant/defense Gregg Williams have expiring deals.
The 2013 Titans started 3-1, but ultimately got only seven starts from starting quarterback Jake Locker, who missed time with a sprained knee and hip before returning and suffering a season-ending foot injury.
Team president and CEO Tommy Smith, who heads the family ownership group that took over when Adams died, will choose a new coach with advice from Webster, who got a strong public vote of confidence a few weeks ago.
Munchak preached that his players and everyone in the organization should “be a pro” who knew their job and did their job.
But as a group they often came up short of expectations.
A revamped offensive line and the run game were supposed to provide the foundation of this year’s team, but that identity never developed.
In each of his three seasons, the Titans lost to a division rival who finished with the worst record or tied for the worst record in the NFL.
In 2011 that was the Colts (0-13 coming into the game), in 2012 it was the Jaguars (1-9) and in 2013 it was the Texans, who moved to 2-0 with an overtime win over Tennessee, then lost 14 in a row, including the season finale in Nashville. The Titans lost at home to the Jaguars when they were 0-8 in 2013 as well.
It’s unknown what Smith will most want in a new coach. Webster spent extensive time in the front offices Tampa Bay and Seattle before joining the Titans in 2009.
- Covered AFC South for five years for ESPN.com
- Covered Oilers/Titans for The Tennessean
- New Jersey native and Columbia graduate lives in Nashville with his wife and son