NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When Dick LeBeau decided to join the Tennessee Titans as assistant head coach/defense, it was largely because of his relationship with the coach who was hiring him, Ken Whisenhunt.
The Titans defense has greatly improved under LeBeau, and now ranks sixth in the league in yardage as well as eighth in third-down success.
With Whisenhunt fired last week and Mike Mularkey in place on an interim basis, LeBeau’s future is in a question. His deal with the Titans is only for the 2015 season.
Titans interim CEO/president Steve Underwood said on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville last week that he’d suggest to ownership they look for a “great offensive mind” in the team’s next head coach.
Along with that suggestion, he mentioned that the defense is in good shape under LeBeau.
But a new coach would want to be able to hire his own staff, and might arrive in Nashville with a defensive coordinator in mind.
“We’re thinking strictly about getting some more wins,” LeBeau said after practice Thursday. “I like Tennessee a lot. Hell, I like Nashville. First of all, someone would have to want me, you don’t even know if that’s the case. But we’re just going to focus on doing the best job we can do with our team this year and get as many wins as we can.”
LeBeau is 78, but said his feelings about continuing to coach have not diminished this season.
“Anyway you look at it, you’ve go to know you’re close to the end,” he said, laughing.
LeBeau has a clear fondness for Whisenhunt, whom he worked with in Pittsburgh from 2001-06 and who lured him to Tennessee after he was forced out by the Steelers.
“He’s my friend,” LeBeau said of Whisenhunt. “But that’s in the past, we’re going to focus on the future.”