Is Sean McVay too young to be a head coach?

WASHINGTON — Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Jeff Fisher as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

McVay, who will soon be 31, would be the youngest head coaching hire in NFL history, a mark currently held by Lane Kiffin. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports at least one anonymous executive wonders if McVay is too young to handle the workload.

The executive questioned whether McVay possesses the experience to put together a functional staff, while also noting the recent failures of young coaches given their first opportunities to run a team. Perhaps only one of those concerns is valid.

John Feinstein says McVay’s age shouldn’t factor into the hiring process, using the story of how 33-year-old Mike Krzyzewski first came to coach Duke, despite concerns about his age, to explain his thinking.

“Tom Butters interviewed Mike Krzyzewski three different times,” Feinstein recalled to 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. “And every time he interviewed him, he was blown away by him. And every time he interview him, he said, ‘I can’t hire him. He’s 33 years old. He was just 9-17 at Army.’ He’d had four winning seasons prior to that, but he’d had a down season with some injuries that year.

“And, finally he interviewed him one more time and Steve Vacendak, who was the assistant AD who had first recommended that he interview Krzyzewski, went in after the interview and said, ‘So what do you think?’ And Butters said, ‘I think he is the next great coach. I think he is as good a young coach as there is anywhere in the country.’

“And Vacendak said, ‘So you hired him?’ And [Butters] said, ‘I can’t hire him! He’s only 33 years old!’ And Vacendak said, ‘If he’s the next great coach, how can you not hire him?’ And you know what happened.”

“So my answer to the question is if you believe that Sean McVay is going to be a great football coach, you hire him,” Feinstein said. “It doesn’t matter if he’s 30, or 40 or 50. Most of the great coaches get their first jobs relatively young. Not all of them, but most of them. I think this notion that you’re too young…if you’re good enough to be a good coordinator in the NFL, then you’re good enough to be a head coach. And if you’re the 49ers or the Rams, and this guy has blown you away as people are reporting in your interviews, well, why wouldn’t you hire him then?”

“I suppose it’s a fair question,” Rouhier said. “I look at the guys that came before, John, and I just get so nervous. Maybe it’s my own fault, my timid nature, not wanting to be the latest one to take a risk because of the Josh McDaniels, Raheem Morris kind of failures in the past, because they may have been too young despite blowing guys away in the interview process. So maybe it’s I’m too conservative.”

“In the case of McDaniels, I don’t know it’s that he blew anybody away in the interview process, because my sense of Josh McDaniels is he wouldn’t blow you away in the interview process,” Feinstein replied. “My sense is that he got the job because he worked for Bill Belichick, just as Charlie Weis got a job because he worked for Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel got a job because he worked for Bill Belichick.”

“If that’s the reason you hire somebody, there’s a pretty good chance you’re gonna fail,” he said. “But if the guy walks into the room and takes over the room, and is clearly the kind of personality that you think will be a head coach some day, why wait? Why wait and watch him become a great head coach somewhere else?”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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