GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Mike Sherman is Ron Wolf's surprising choice to take the Green Bay Packers back to the top of the NFL.
Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator and a former Green Bay assistant, was to be hired today as the new coach of the Packers, a team source told The Associated Press on Monday.
Sherman is a long-time college assistant coach with just three years of NFL experience, two of them as Mike Holmgren's tight ends coach in Green Bay. He gained a reputation as a detail-oriented disciplinarian, much like Holmgren himself.
Wolf, the Packers' GM, fired Ray Rhodes and his staff on Jan. 3 after the Packers completed an 8-8 season, Rhodes' first in Green Bay. The GM cited a team-wide lack of discipline and focus, and he vowed his new coach would create a ''well-disciplined, tough and hard-nosed football team.''
Sherman was one of eight assistant coaches Holmgren took with him from Green Bay to Seattle last year, but Wolf decided to bring him back to Wisconsin after the pool of coaching candidates began to dry up.
Wolf's early favorites -- former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer and Rams offensive coordinator Mike Martz -- took themselves out of the running over the weekend.
The Post-Crescent of Appleton and ESPN first reported Sherman's hiring.
Sherman doubled as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach for the Seahawks, but his name hadn't been widely mentioned for any of the six NFL coaching vacancies this offseason.
But Sherman made a strong impression when Wolf interviewed him in Green Bay on Saturday. Wolf said the search for Rhodes' replacement would be ''a lengthy process,'' yet he settled on Sherman just two weeks after firing Rhodes.
Like Holmgren in 1992, Sherman comes to the Packers with no head coaching experience, but a background in the disciplined, hard-nosed style of football favored by Wolf. Four of Holmgren's assistants in Green Bay -- Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci, Dick Jauron and Andy Reid -- are currently NFL head coaches. Wolf apparently chose a coach who would keep the West Coast offense that brought the Packers their recent success and which three-time MVP quarterback Brett Favre is most comfortable running.
Sherman was popular with Green Bay's players, including tight end Mark Chmura, who made the Pro Bowl during each of Sherman's two seasons with the Packers. Chmura missed all but two games of the 1999 season with a neck injury, but expects to return next season.
The Packers missed the playoffs under Rhodes for the first time since 1992, the first of Holmgren's seven years in Green Bay. Holmgren led the Packers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 1997 and 1998.
The Packers broke off talks with Schottenheimer over the weekend, apparently because Schottenheimer's salary demands would have been more than Wolf was willing to pay. The Packers owe Rhodes and his staff at least $2 million next season.
Martz signed a two-year extension with the Rams on Monday and removed himself from consideration for any new jobs. Unlike Schottenheimer or Martz, the Packers will not need to offer Sherman's former team compensation for his services.
Mariucci and Gruden, both former Packers assistants liked by Wolf, would have been unable to get out of their current contracts. Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez took himself out of the running last week, as did Miami coach Butch Davis.
Before joining Holmgren in Green Bay, Sherman was an offensive line coach at Texas A&M and UCLA from 1989-96.
He was hired as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator in 1997, but left for the Packers before the season began. Sherman also was an assistant at Holy Cross, Tulane and Pittsburgh.
Sherman was the offensive coordinator at Holy Cross from 1985-88. In Seattle, he coordinated the team's offense, but Holmgren called the plays, just as Holmgren did with offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis during his seven seasons in Green Bay.
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