Mike Munchak had a chance to keep his job, with an extension even.
But he said the reason he’s the former Titans coach had more to do with the fact he didn’t agree with the long-term vision of owner Tommy Smith and General Manager Ruston Webster.
Munchak told Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean that he was asked to make many changes to his staff, to a point he wasn’t comfortable continuing.
Among those he was asked to fire were two of his best friends — offensive line coach Bruce Matthews and linebackers coach Chet Parlavecchio — along with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. He was told he’d need to fire at least six assistants, maybe more.
“It wasn’t just about Chet or Bruce. People say, ‘Those are Munch’s guys.’ It was about the big picture,” Munchak said. “ A lot of guys were going to be affected. If it was the right thing to do, I would do it. I have fired offensive coordinators (Chris Palmer) before. And I let go of a special teams coach (Alan Lowry).
“It’s not like ‘Munch isn’t here anymore because he wouldn’t fire two guys.’ In my eyes, that’s not what we disagreed on. There was more to it than that. Obviously they made it easy. They fired all of us so they could start over.”
After talking with Smith and Webster Friday, there was still some hope they could continue. But after talking more on Saturday, they couldn’t come to an agreement, and Munchak was gone.
That ended a 31-year run with the organization, going back to his playing days with the Oilers.
“I was so proud when I first got the chance. A lot of things go through your mind. This is an emotional time and I haven’t had to deal with it,’’ Munchak said. “I guess it’s my ‘Welcome to the NFL.’ I have been fired, let go, whatever you want to call it. It just didn’t workout. It is hard, and it hasn’t sunk in. When you start packing your boxes, it hits you.”
Practically every coach working in the NFL ends up getting fired, so Munchak’s not special there. But having the chance to offer up a number of assistants to save his own skin and refusing the chance makes him a bit unique.