In 1999, the Bears announced that they had hired Dave McGinnis as their next head coach. One problem: McGinnis hadn’t signed the contract the Bears gave him. And as McGinnis, his wife and his agent sat in a Chicago hotel room looking over the contract, the breaking news that he was the Bears’ next head coach came on the TV. McGinnis was none too pleased that the Bears put out the announcement before he signed, didn’t like the terms of the contract, and walked away.
Other teams should have learned from that, but the Colts didn’t. On Tuesday the Colts announced that Josh McDaniels would be their next head coach, but by Tuesday night McDaniels had informed them he wasn’t taking the job.
McDaniels never signed a contract with the Colts, never put out a public statement saying he would be the next Colts head coach, and repeatedly refused to answer reporters when they asked him if he’d coach the Colts. So why did the Colts put out the announcement?
Maybe the Colts thought a verbal agreement was good enough. Or maybe the Colts knew that (as PFT reported on Sunday) McDaniels was wavering, and they thought putting out a public announcement would make him feel like he had no choice but to follow through. Either way, there’s a lesson to be learned in this.
The lesson is clear: Don’t announce your next head coach without a signed contract.