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Monday, January 14
Updated: January 15, 6:35 PM ET
New Washington coach agrees to five-year deal news services

ASHBURN, Va. -- Steve Spurrier became the highest-paid coach in the NFL on Monday, signing a $25 million, five-year deal with the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins announced the signing of Spurrier a day after firing Marty Schottenheimer. Spurrier, who abruptly left Florida on Jan. 4 after a successful 12-year run, will be introduced Tuesday at a 6 p.m. ET news conference at Redskin Park.

"Steve Spurrier will bring a supercharged, exciting and dynamic brand of football to our great fans," owner Daniel M. Snyder said in a news release. "His ability to energize players and teams is unprecedented. The Redskins deserve to be back at the Super Bowl, and I am immensely confident that Steve is the coach to get us there."

The size of the contract makes Spurrier the highest-paid coach in the NFL. The previous high was $4 million a year for Seattle's Mike Holmgren as coach and general manager.

Spurrier will be the coach and only the coach, eliminating the possibility of the type of conflict that led Snyder to dismiss Schottenheimer, who was also the director of football operations.

Ironically, Spurrier was offered the job a year ago by Snyder, but opted at the time to remain with the Gators' program another year.

"He's going to be a hell of a coach in the NFL," a Redskins source said of Spurrier. "This is a special guy and he's going to bring a lot of excitement with him."

Sources told he had already begun contacting people who likely will serve both on his coaching staff and as support personnel in the front office.

Spurrier is expected to seek Bucs personnel director Tim Ruskell as his personnel man in Washington, sources said. The two men worked together when Spurrier coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL.

Yet to be determined is who will come in as the general manager. Spurrier has made it clear that he will need an experienced front office executive and likely a strong defensive coordinator. Over the past week, Snyder has spoken at least twice by phone to former Redskins and San Diego GM Bobby Beathard, but he has decided to remain in retirement. Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay also has rebuffed overtures.

One potential candidate is longtime NFL personnel man Ken Herock, who interviewed during the summer with Schottenheimer for the personnel job that subsequently went to Schneider.

Other names mentioned: Bruce Allen and Ron Wolf.

Washington defensive tackle Kenard Lang got to know Spurrier while playing for the University of Miami against Florida.

"He's not arrogant, but he's real, real, real confident," Lang said. "But he has to realize he has men he's coaching instead of little boys, who were just leaving their mommy and daddy and have their little old pacifiers in their mouth."

Lang is one of 17 unrestricted free agents on the Redskins' roster, a wrinkle Spurrier never had to handle in college.

Spurrier's offenses always looked as if they belonged in the pros, but quarterback is the Redskins' most uncertain position because neither Tony Banks nor Kent Graham is under contract for next season.

Spurrier became the country's most-wanted coach after he suddenly quit Florida and declared himself ready to take on the NFL. A colorful sideline presence and mastermind at offensive game-planning, Spurrier went 122-27-1 with the Gators and won the 1996 national title.

He has coached one professional team, the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL, going 35-19 in three seasons before the league folded.

The 1966 Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback for Florida, Spurrier played in the NFL from 1967-76, nine of those seasons as a backup QB for the San Francisco 49ers.

"He's one of them love-em, hate-em kind of guys," Lang said. "He wants to do things his way. If he wants to put some points on somebody and embarrass them, he's going to do it."

The Redskins haven't had a losing season since Snyder bought the team for $800 million in 1999, but Spurrier will be his fourth coach. Norv Turner was 10-6 in 1999, and Turner and interim Terry Robiskie combined for an 8-8 record in 2000.

Spurrier's hiring represents the type of high-profile signing preferred by Snyder, whose players have included Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and Jeff George.

Spurrier's offense would offer a stark contrast from the conservative approach used by Schottenheimer.

"If it's Steve Spurrier, you're talking about an individual who's going to come in here with some real energy, an offensive mindset," cornerback Darrell Green said. "Offense is what puts people in the seats and excites the team. That's something we need desperately."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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