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Marion Campbell Is Hired by Falcons to Serve as Head Coach Once Again

Associated Press

Marion Campbell, the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive coordinator, was hired for a second try as head coach by the National Football League team Tuesday, ending a six-week search that included rejections by at least two other candidates.

Owner Rankin Smith Sr., insisting that Campbell was not his third choice, said the 57-year-old coach had been given a four-year contract.

Campbell, who returned to the Falcons last season as defensive coordinator, was fired as head coach in 1976 after a 6-19 record in parts of three seasons.

Campbell’s hiring came 43 days after Smith fired Dan Henning, who had a 22-41-1 record in four seasons, including a 7-8-1 record in 1986.

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The Falcons’ search for a coach included rejections from their No. 1 choice, Dick Vermeil, now a CBS-TV commentator, and UCLA Coach Terry Donahue.

“I don’t think the public will perceive this as a third choice,” Smith said in defending the selection of Campbell. “We went out and tried to get a name coach, but on second thought, I believe the best man was right here under our nose.

“If all three (Vermeil, Donahue and Campbell) were standing in the room now, my choice would be Marion Campbell.”

Financial terms of the contract were not announced.

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