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Dungy Closing in on Bucs’ Coaching Job

January 22, 1996 GMT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching search appeared near an end Sunday when Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Tony Dungy arrived in Tampa to meet with team owner Malcolm Glazer.

Dungy is the leading candidate for the job, vacated by the Dec. 27 firing of Sam Wyche.

He denied weekend reports that the job had been offered. But Dungy was optimistic Sunday during an interview on One on One Sports Radio Network in Northbrook, Ill., where he was an analyst during the NFL playoffs.

``We’re kinda winding down the process. A lot of things have taken place,″ Dungy said.

``I’m gonna meet with Mr. Glazer tonight and, hopefully, that will go well and I think we’ll be on our way. I think you’re never sure until it actually happens, but I have very good feelings about it. I think the Tampa people feel good about me, but I have not meet Mr. Glazer and that’s the last thing we have to do.″

Team officials continued Sunday to deny a Tampa Tribune report that an offer had been made.

``The head coaching position of the Buccaneers has not been formally offered to Tony at this point,″ general manager Rich McKay said. ``We have maintained all along that a very important step in the process of naming a new coach would be a meeting with the owners. That is the purpose of Tony’s trip to Tampa.″

If hired, Dungy, 40, would become Tampa Bay’s sixth head coach. He would also become the fourth youngest head coach in the league.

Other possible candidates for the job include New Orleans coach Jim Mora, according to newspaper reports. But Mora announced Jan. 12 he would fulfill the final year of his contract with the Saints.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday that Dungy began lining up potential assistant coaches last week while in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl.

``I talked with some people, but I haven’t said, `Hey, this thing is done,″ he said, adding that Saints linebacker coach Jimmy Haslett would be the favorite for defensive coordinator.