Like Mike McCormack and Chuck Knox before him, Tom Flores couldn't satisfy Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring.

Like McCormack and Knox, Flores is now a former coach of the Seahawks."I will no longer be associated with the Seahawks other than in spirit," Flores said Thursday in announcing his own firing as the franchise's coach and general manager. "Basically, that's it. Cut and dried."

"It's something we felt we had to do to take the team in a new direction," said David Behring, the Seahawks president and the owner's son. "We just weren't advancing and improving as fast as we'd hoped for."

Flores, 57, replaced McCormack, now with the Carolina Panthers, as president and general manager of the Seahawks in February 1989. He took over for Knox, now with the Los Angeles Rams, as Seattle's coach after the 1991 season.

In the next month and a half, someone will replace Flores and become the franchise's fifth head coach.

"The decision could be made any time in the next 45 days," David Behring said from the Behring family's Blackhawk corporate offices in Danville, Calif.

Ken Behring doesn't like to eat contracts. In his seven years as the Seahawks' majority owner, he still hasn't. Like McCormack and Knox, Flores' contract was up.

After the Seahawks' second consecutive 6-10 season and a 3-year record of 14-34 under Flores, Behring chose not to pick up the two option years of Flores' contract.

With fan interest in the Seahawks at an all-time low, the Behrings need to do something dramatic, and they know it.

In five games at the Kingdome this season, the Seahawks averaged 13,532 no shows. They had non-strike franchise-low crowds of 37,466 and 39,574 on two occasions.

David Behring refused to talk about coaching candidates' names Thursday.

But one name coach who could stir up a lot of excitement in Seattle is Miami's high-profile Dennis Erickson, whose team plays Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Erickson, a native of Everett who coached at Washington State in 1987 and 1988, said this week that he's staying in Miami.

Another name being mentioned as a top candidate is 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan, who also is being called a leading candidate for the newly vacant Denver coaching post.

Some NFL defensive coordinators whose names are being mentioned include Ray Rhodes of the 49ers, Dom Capers of Pittsburgh, Tony Dungy of Minnesota and Butch Davis of Dallas.