Dave McKenna’s criticism of Washington Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer’s hiring of relatives and former Kansas City Chief associates for his coaching staff strikes me as unfair and somewhat premature (Cheap Seats, “Too Many Chiefs,” 6/8). McKenna states: “What started out as a cutesy episode of family ties has become rather ridiculous. When it comes to recruiting staff and players, the new Skins sagamore appears to be merely dusting off old time sheets from his days at Arrowhead Stadium.” That Schottenheimer would hire people with whom he’s comfortable and who are familiar with his system is hardly surprising or unusual. In professional sports, it happens all the time. When Bill Parcells became head coach of the New England Patriots, he assembled his coaching staff with people with whom he worked during his days with the New York Giants. When Phil Jackson accepted the position of head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, he turned to people who had been with him on the Chicago Bulls staff.
Indeed, Schottenheimer’s rationale speaks directly to the point: “My primary impetus in making the changes was that I was anxious to keep people I’d been involved with before, who understood the way we do things. It’s no reflection on anyone who was here.”
McKenna implies that the hiring of Kurt Schottenheimer as defensive coordinator had more to do with blood ties than actual qualifications for the job. “The 1998 Chiefs,” McKenna writes, “ended the season as the most penalized team in the league.” It should also be noted that the 1999 Kansas City defensive unit under the younger Schottenheimer led the National Football League in nine defensive touchdowns and finished second in the league, with 45 turnovers.