His mother was not surprised by the phone call.
Sean McVay was on the line from Southern California, where he had gone through a series of final interviews before the Rams made him the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.
“I have the job,” McVay told his parents, who were at home in Atlanta.
“You ready for this?” Cindy McVay asked.
“I’ve been ready for this my whole life,” McVay said.
On Friday, after attending her oldest son’s introductory news conference, Cindy recounted the exchange.
“We laughed,” she said, “because he’s only 30 years old.”
McVay, the Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator the last three seasons, might be millennial but he looked and sounded every bit the part of a veteran and seasoned head coach as he spoke passionately about his plans and took questions from reporters.
McVay wore a fashionably fitted blue suit, white shirt and gold tie and, at times, seemed to channel former NFL coach Jon Gruden, a longtime family friend who gave him his coaching start and endorsed him to the Rams.
“It’s an exciting time to be an L.A. Ram,” McVay said, “and we can’t wait to go to work, roll our sleeves up and figure out a way to consistently give this fan base and this great city of L.A. a winner and a team that they can be proud of week-in and week-out.”
The real test of McVay’s ability, of course, will come in the 2017 season, when he will be expected to turn around a franchise that has not had a winning season since 2003 or made the playoffs since 2004.
The Rams finished 4-12 this season with the NFL’s worst offense for the second year in a row.
McVay, who is bringing in veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, did not sound deterred.
“I see a lot of key pieces that give us a chance to compete,” said McVay, who directed a Redskins offense that ranked third in the NFL this season.
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ vice president of football operations, said the Rams had been looking for a coach who was a skilled communicator, an innovative tactician and an energetic presence. McVay’s age was not a negative, he said.
“There’s a difference between youth and maturity,” Demoff said. “Sean is very mature.”
Said General Manager Les Snead: “The youth and age help him relate to young guys. . . . It’s a young man’s business.”
McVay is the grandson of former NFL executive John McVay. He also pointed to Jon and Jay Gruden and Mike Shanahan as some of the coaches and people who helped him and influenced his coaching style.
And he said he is excited about working with quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft. Goff struggled through many of his seven starts and finished the season without a victory. McVay watched film with Goff as part of the interview process.
“You can feel his passion and the drive he has to come back and respond and be better,” McVay said.
Goff, 22, said he expected McVay to “bring out the best in me” and that it was “definitely cool” to play for a coach not that far removed from his age.
“We are a young team,” Goff said. “We are a young offense in particular, and having a guy like that who can maybe relate to us a little better could be beneficial.
“At the same time, I think his overall knowledge and leadership and the way he coaches are more important than that.”
In a phone interview, running back Todd Gurley said that he spoke by phone with McVay after he was hired. He also said he followed the development of Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins under McVay and that Redskins running back Keith Marshall, a former Georgia teammate, spoke highly of the Rams’ new coach.
“He said, ‘You’re going to love him,’ ” Gurley said.
After Jeff Fisher was fired in December, Demoff told reporters the Rams would not limit their search for a coach. They interviewed eight candidates — including New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels but not Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — before hiring McVay.
Sean McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history at age 30, holds a Rams helmet after being introduced as the team’s coach during a news conference at their headquarters in Thousand Oaks on January 13, 2017.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Rams chief executive Kevin Demoff, right, watches new Coach Sean McVay talk about his upcoming opportunity during an introductory news conference.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
New Rams Coach Sean McVay is flanked by chief executive Kevin Demoff, left, and General Manager Les Snead on Jan. 13, 2017.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff talks to reporters after the Rams introduced Sean McVay (not pictured) as the team’s coach at their headquarters in Thousand Oaks.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
On Friday, Demoff said McVay received endorsements from Jon Gruden and in other sounding-board search inquiries they made to former NFL coach Tony Dungy and former NFL executive Bill Polian.
“The name that kept popping up over and over again was Sean McVay,” Demoff said.
McVay initially interviewed with the Rams on Jan. 5, wowing Demoff, Snead and senior assistant Tony Pastoors with his confidence.
Demoff worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, when Jon Gruden was head coach and McVay was a first-year offensive assistant. Demoff said he texted Gruden in the middle of the interview and said “Holy crap! He is you!”
On Tuesday, on the eve of his second interview, McVay had dinner with Demoff, owner Stan Kroenke and Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk at Spago in Beverly Hills.
Immediately afterward, Demoff said Faulk told him, “That person can absolutely be your next head coach.”
The next morning, over breakfast, the Rams offered the job to McVay.
“As soon as I got that offer,” he said, “it didn’t take long to decide, ‘Hey, let’s go do this thing.’”
Then he called his parents, to tell them he was ready for the opportunity for which he had been preparing.
All of his life.
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