Miami Hurricane Coach Jimmy Johnson flew to Dallas Friday amidst increasing speculation he was about to replace Tom Landry as coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
A swiftly moving chain of events indicated the Cowboys could be sold as early as today and that the likely new owner - Arkansas oilman Jerry Jones - would replace Landry, the only coach the team has ever had and the third winningest coach in NFL history.Johnson met Friday with Jones and current Cowboys owner H.R. "Bum" Bright. Johnson and Jones were teammates on the University of Arkansas' unbeaten 1964 team.
One area television station reported Johnson had already submitted his resignation to the University of Miami and had already decided on four assistant coaches: Hubbard Alexander, Tony Wise, Dave Wannstedt and Butch Davis - all from the Hurricane staff.
In addition, the Tampa Tribune Friday quoted an unnamed source as saying Johnson had told a group of Miami boosters last week he would soon be coaching the Cowboys and planned to take his entire Miami staff with him.
Saturday's first edition of The Miami Herald said the pending departure of Johnson, 45, a native of Port Arthur, Texas, after five seasons at UM "was not officially acknowleged at any level of the university Friday, but the likelihood is considered so strong that athletic director Sam Jankovich already had begun to privately interview and seek possible replacements."
Gary Stevens, UM assistant coach and offensive coordinator, is said to be the leading candidate to replace Johnson.
Negotiations between Bright, Jones and Johnson have reportedly been taking place for the past two weeks without the knowledge of Landry or Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm.
Schramm, who learned of the likelihood of the Cowboys sale only Thursday night, said Friday the transfer of the team would be, "clarified," within the next 48 hours.