Steelers to interview former assistant Gailey

ATLANTA -- Just when it appeared the Pittsburgh Steelers were ready to narrow the number of viable possibilities for their head coach vacancy, the pool of candidates has actually widened.

Sources here and in Pittsburgh confirmed Thursday to ESPN.com and to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey, a onetime Steelers assistant coach, will interview Saturday with Pittsburgh management. Gailey will be the fifth, and likely final, candidate to meet with the Steelers' search committee.

The Steelers will probably cut the field of prospective successors to Bill Cowher next week and might conduct a second round of interviews with the finalists.

Cowher apparently recommended Gailey to his former bosses as a possible candidate.

The two in-house candidates, each of whom interviewed for the job earlier this week, are assistant head coach Russ Grimm and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The three-man search committee -- which is comprised of owner Dan Rooney, team president Art Rooney II and director of football operations Kevin Colbert -- has also interviewed defensive coordinators Ron Rivera of the Chicago Bears and Mike Tomlin of the Minnesota Vikings.

It is not believed the Steelers have sought permission to interview any other candidates. In fact, the sudden addition of Gailey to the Pittsburgh field of candidates was a bit surprising, since the consensus was that the team's search was winding down.

Gailey, 55, has been an NFL head coach once previously with the Dallas Cowboys (1998-99). In two years, he compiled an 18-16 record and won a division championship in '98 with a 10-6 record. Last week, he met with Miami Dolphins officials about their head coach vacancy. Gailey was an assistant with Pittsburgh for four seasons (1994-97) and was offensive coordinator for the last two of those years.

In five years at Georgia Tech, Gailey has posted a 37-27 record and taken the team to a bowl appearance in each season. In addition to the Cowboys and Georgia Tech, he has also been a head coach at Troy State and Samford and with the Birmingham Fire of the USFL, and his resume is extensive.

Gailey began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Florida in 1974.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.