January 2, 2006

Loomis Fires Haslett: Head coach leaves with 46-52 overall record

The Saints are officially on the market for a new head coach.

One day after finishing his sixth season as head coach with a 3-13 record, Haslett was "relieved of his coaching duties" by GM Mickey Loomis.

The announcement - in that light - indicates that Loomis will continue his duties as general manager. Loomis said Monday that owner Tom Benson said it was his decision to make.

Haslett brought the franchise to its highest point in 2000, with an NFC West title, a playoff victory over the defending champion Rams, and an 11-7 record. Since then, the inconsistent Saints have slipped, hovering at .500 after that initial season and before this season. Marred by a hurricane and a slew of injuries, the Saints fell to 3-13.

Haslett, who took over a 3-13 Saints team from Mike Ditka, now leaves the team with the same record, but arguably in far better shape. The Saints plan to cut line at quarterback but have long-term deals with good players like RB Deuce McAllister, WR Joe Horn, DE Will Smith, CB Mike McKenzie, T Jammal Brown, and S Dwight Smith.

The Saints hope to wrap up the search as soon as possible, although assistant coaches on teams still active in the playoffs are not eligible to be interviewed. That means assistants on teams like the Bears, Seahawks, Broncos and Colts cannot be contacted for at least two weeks.

Loomis indicated at the press conference that the remaining senior staff, including exec Russ Ball and personnel voice Rick Mueller, would aid in the search.

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