Bringing the man in black to the Park Blocks

From singing a blues melody with Portland State President Daniel Bernstine to scribbling out a contract atop a paper tablecloth to a picture full of memorable figures in his Sixth Avenue office, Jerry Glanville’s hiring process was one the head football coach describes as “the only one of its kind.”

From singing a blues melody with Portland State President Daniel Bernstine to scribbling out a contract atop a paper tablecloth to a picture full of memorable figures in his Sixth Avenue office, Jerry Glanville’s hiring process was one the head football coach describes as “the only one of its kind.”

During the week of Feb. 12, suspicion of head football coach Tim Walsh fleeing the South Park Blocks crept into the athletic department, prompting interim athletic director Teri Mariani to meet with Bernstine to weigh replacement options.

Walsh officially announced that he would leave his post at Portland State for a new assignment as Army’s offensive coordinator on Feb. 16. On the same day that Walsh revealed his intentions, Mariani made her own call, phoning Viking legend Darrel “Mouse” Davis, who had coached offense at the University of Hawaii the last three years.

Mariani called Davis to inquire about possible replacements for the head coaching position. According to Mariani, it was strictly preliminary research since she and Bernstine had not decided whether to promote from within the football program or conduct an external search.

“We didn’t talk names so I figured it was someone on Hawaii’s staff, most likely on the offensive side of the ball,” Mariani said.

Bernstine and Mariani met again on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the president’s office to hash out whether to begin an external search. The sheer volume of calls and overall interest compelled them to open a “quickened search,” choosing a candidate in around a week.

“After I met with the president on Tuesday, I called Mouse to tell him we were going to open it up,” Mariani said. “So he said, ‘I will tell my guy to send his stuff in.'”

At a college coaches’ clinic in San Antonio, Texas, Glanville and Davis cleverly prepared a r퀌�sum퀌� and cover letter to immediately present to an unsuspecting Mariani once the search had officially begun.

Just minutes after Mariani ended the call with Davis she received a fax. Mariani examined the sheet inching out of the machine, catching sight of the name across the top.

“I expected it to be someone from the Hawaii staff, but I saw this letter and r퀌�sum퀌� from Jerry Glanville,” Mariani said. “To be perfectly honest, I thought Mouse was playing a joke on me.”

Glanville, a former NFL head coach for the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons, had been the defensive coordinator at the University of Hawaii for the past two seasons. He was the most high-profile coach on Hawaii’s staff, and the last one Mariani fathomed applying for the Portland State job.

She invited Scott Herrin, assistant athletic director of marketing, into her office to witness the call with Glanville in case Davis was “pulling her leg,” putting the call on speakerphone so they could both hear.

“The first question I asked was, ‘Is this r퀌�sum퀌� a joke, or are you seriously interested?'” Mariani said. “He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely interested.'”

Davis and Hawaii head coach June Jones, a former Viking quarterback, sang Portland State’s praises to Glanville, encouraging him to apply for the vacant position.

“I know Jerry was looking for a head coaching job, so I casually mentioned to him that it would be a good thing to look at Portland State,” Davis said.

“I think it was their connection and love of the school that really brought me here,” Glanville later said. “I never would have looked at the job without Mouse and June.”

Mariani spoke with Glanville for about an hour, primarily discussing the budget specifics to ensure he understood the current state of Viking athletics. Glanville said he would talk to his wife, Brenda, and call Mariani back.

And he did, calling Mariani later that Tuesday evening to reveal his desire to visit the campus.

“On Wednesday we talked and I felt very comfortable that he was serious. So we flew him in on Sunday, Feb. 28,” Mariani said.

Mariani checked Glanville into the Residence Inn on the waterfront Sunday night under the pseudonym Tom Jones to save him from a media-driven frenzy.

On Monday, Feb. 26, Glanville wandered campus for the first time, meeting with athletic department staffers and rubbing elbows with Portland State boosters Peter Stott, Norm Daniels, Jerry Nudelman and Tony Lineweber at lunch and dinner.

While Glanville was dining, his wife, Brenda, was receiving a first-class tour of Portland from some of the women boosters, sightseeing on the Columbia Gorge, Forest Park and Portland’s blossoming Pearl District.

“If she didn’t like the city, he wasn’t taking the job. I didn’t just have to recruit Jerry, I had to recruit Brenda,” Mariani said.

Brenda fared much better than her husband during their first day in the Rose City. Brenda loved the city, calling it unbelievable.

“On the Monday night, I got discouraged with one particular interview,” Glanville said.

Glanville chose to keep the booster anonymous, but said he had major doubts about coaching at Portland State following their conversation. After Glanville outlined his four requests-increased recruiting funds, higher salaries for assistant coaches, more scholarships, upgraded video equipment-the booster told him he should return home because Bernstine would not honor his requests.

“And I just felt like this was over and that’s fine. I’m not mad at anyone,” Glanville said.

Glanville, disappointed by the booster’s words, returned to the hotel room and began winding down for the night before a jovial Brenda arrived.

“She said, ‘Jerry, I had an incredible day,'” Glanville said. “‘These are great people and a great city. I think I could live here.’ Then she asked how my day went and I said, ‘Well, I think we can start all over tomorrow.'”

As Tuesday, Feb. 27 began, Glanville realized that what he witnessed would either make or break his bid to coach the Vikings.

The first order of business was a morning conference with the search committee, which, according to Mariani, went very well. Afterward, the former NFL head coach made his way toward the president’s office for an afternoon interview with Bernstine.

Glanville, a comical personality known for leaving tickets at the will-call desk under “Elvis Presley,” and Bernstine, a former lawyer, faced one another in the president’s third-floor office.

Bernstine, trying to narrow down Glanville’s hobbies, asked the coach if he liked to hunt, fish or golf. The answer to each question was an insistent no, as Glanville provided reasons for disliking all three. Confused by his response, Bernstine asked, “Well, what do you like then?”

With a smirk on his face, Glanville said he loved the blues.

Jumping out of his seat, Glanville sang the phrase, “Everybody wants to go to heaven.” Also standing, Bernstine belted out, “But nobody wants to die.” Then Glanville responded, “All I want to do is hear the truth.” And Bernstine finished, singing, “And everybody tells us lies.”

“It’s a song I don’t know if any two other guys love,” Glanville said. “I realized I could coach here when I talked with President Bernstine. We were supposed to talk over the phone, and if that was the case this job and I never would have gotten connected.”

An odd couple to say the least, brought together by a common musical bond. However, Bernstine learned more than the fact that Glanville could sing during the course of the interview.

“It showed that we both have something in common,” Bernstine said. “During the interview, I learned Jerry was serious about education and committed to coaching and Portland State.”

After singing the blues with Bernstine, Glanville and Mariani went to Jake’s Grill in Portland for contract talks.

Negotiations were conducted atop a table, as Mariani and Glanville scratched down offers on butcher paper covering the table until both parties finally agreed. The newly minted colleagues then tore the agreements off the paper tablecloth, exchanging the scraps so Glanville had Mariani’s and vice versa.

“This is the only contract there has ever been written on a contract,” Glanville said.

With the interview process complete and his contract signed, Glanville arrives at his office each morning and writes a message on his notepad: coach the football team. Just above the notepad rests a picture his predecessor Walsh had hung long ago, featuring June Jones, Tracy Eaton, John Charles and Derek Baldwin, all members of Glanville’s 1993 Atlanta Falcons’ team.

Glanville claims he never moved the photo, and believes it is a sign he is in the right place.