ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis had a one-year contract last year with the Tennessee Titans, just in case there was a chance he could be reunited with Jeff Fisher.
McGinnis, who worked under Fisher for seven seasons with the Titans, was hired last week by the Rams. He and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are former NFL head coaches who will try to rebuild a franchise that's had just 10 victories in the past three seasons.
Fisher was hired last month after sitting out this past season. Like Williams, McGinnis said that when Fisher called about the Rams job, he didn't hesitate to say yes.
"It was instantaneous," McGinnis said Wednesday. "If Jeff wanted me to be with him, I wanted to be with him."
The 60-year-old McGinnis was senior assistant coach with the Titans last year, frequently acting as a sounding board for first-year head coach Mike Munchak. He also helped with administrative duties and in personnel evaluation in the offseason.
"Once you're in that chair, there's so many things that come up that you're not prepared for," McGinnis said. "You really have to put your high beams on as a head coach."
Under Fisher in Tennessee, McGinnis was linebackers coach for seven years and assistant head coach for six of those seasons. He said he had other opportunities after getting fired as Arizona Cardinals head coach in 2003, but chose to work with Fisher.
"He gets it on every level that a head coach needs to get it," McGinnis said. "The players absolutely love playing for him, coaches in this league want to work for Jeff Fisher. When you're around him, it's palpable."
Both Williams and McGinnis have Missouri roots. Williams was a prep coach in Missouri before playing quarterback for Northeast Missouri State.
McGinnis coached at Missouri from 1976-81 and he has family in Kansas City and Manhattan, Kan.
"I am really fired up," McGinnis said. "This is very exciting for me, to be able to get with guys that you know, that you trust, that you know are going to be able to do it the right way."
McGinnis has Rams roots of a sort, too. Among the assistants he was poised to add if the Chicago Bears hired him as head coach in 1999 was Mike Martz, St. Louis's offensive coordinator and architect of the "The Greatest Show on Turf", which produced two Super Bowl teams and the Rams's lone championship after the 1999 season.
The Bears prematurely called a news conference to announce that McGinnis had been hired in January 1999 before he had been offered the job. McGinnis then withdrew from consideration.
McGinnis was hired as Cardinals interim head coach in 2000.
"Everything is intertwined in this league," McGinnis said. "It really is amazing. 'The Greatest Show on Turf' did materialize and it was a great thing for the city of St. Louis and the Rams."