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  • Thursday, August 24, 2000

    Jim Skipper leaves Giants coaching staff less than two weeks before season

    By TOM CANAVAN -- Associated Press

     EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jim Skipper, the New York Giants assistant head coach, left the team two weeks before the start of the NFL season to take the head coaching position with the Memphis franchise of the new XFL.

     "Jim Skipper has been my closest professional friend over the last five years," Giants coach Jim Fassel said in a statement early Thursday. "He has been a valuable member of my staff. This is an opportunity Jim felt like he couldn't pass up, and I wish him the best."

     The departure ends a five-year working relationship between the men, and it comes less than a year after Fassel took away the offensive coordinator's job from Skipper and gave it to Sean Payton.

     Skipper was promoted to assistant head coach and he was still in charge of working with the running backs as he has always been, but the 36-year-old Payton was calling the plays.

     Skipper was not immediately available for comment.

     The Giants have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, putting Fassel in the position of needing a good season to save his job.

     With Skipper's departure, three coaches have left the team since the end of last season for other positions. Linebackers coach Mike Haluchak, Fassel's longtime friend, took a job with Rams, and tight ends coach Dick Rehbein joined Bill Belichick's staff at New England.

     After starting his coaching career in the high school ranks in 1973, Skipper reached the pro ranks with the Stars of the USFL from 1883-85. He spent 10 seasons as the New Orleans Saints running backs coach before joining the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, where he worked with Fassel. When Fassel got the Giants head coaching job, Skipped followed as his offensive coordinator.

     Offensive quality control coach Mike Gillhamer, a former Rutgers assistant who joined the Giants in 1997, was promoted to running backs coach. He has worked with the running backs, offensive line and kick returners in addition to game preparation.

     Charles Way, the one-time fullback who took a job as director of player programs after retiring earlier this year, will help Gillhamer.



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