Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Marion Campbell announced his retirement today, saying he wants to give the last-place team a chance "to get on with the future." Offensive Coach Jim Hanifan, a former NFL head coach, was named interim coach.
"I have chosen this avenue to clear the picture for the ownership to get on with the future of their franchise," Campbell said in a statement released from the NFL club's headquarters.
"At the present time, I am just announcing my retirement and I have no plans as to my future concerns."
The Falcons are 3-9, last in the NFC West.
Hanifan, named interim coach an hour after Campbell's announcement, was the Falcons' assistant head coach for offense. He was head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1980 to 1985, compiling a 39-49 record during that period.
Taylor Smith, the Falcons' vice president and son of owner Rankin Smith Sr., said Hanifan will not be considered for the head coaching job on a permanent basis.
"I think Marion did a great job. We realized at the time he was hired that we were not a very good football team," said Smith.
Campbell was hired to coach the team for a second time in 1987, after the firing of Head Coach Dan Henning. Campbell compiled an 11-32 record in the last 2 1/2 seasons.
Campbell also was head coach of the Falcons from 1974 to 1976 and coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1983 to 1985. His career record as an NFL head coach is 34-80-1.
Rumors of his departure began swirling recently as the Falcons lost five of their last six games.
Campbell, 60, has recorded his greatest success in the NFL as a defensive coach, with the Minnesota Vikings, the Rams, the Eagles and the Falcons. He was defensive coordinator for Philadelphia's 1980 Super Bowl team.