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Raiders pay a visit to history to finally find new head coach

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Art Shell has again been hired to coach the Oakland Raiders.

Art Shell has again been hired to coach the Oakland Raiders.

Eric Draper, Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Art Shell was hired for his second stint as Oakland Raiders coach Friday night, ending the team's 5 1/2-week search for Norv Turner's replacement.

Shell, who hasn't been a head coach since the Raiders fired him following the 1994 season, first talked to owner Al Davis about taking the job last week and emerged as the leading candidate after Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt told the team he didn't want the job.

Shell, the first black head coach in modern NFL history, becomes the seventh one currently in the league. Of the 10 openings this offseason, the only other black coach hired was Herman Edwards, who was traded from the New York Jets to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Shell had been working as the senior vice president of football operations and development for the NFL. He met most of Friday with Davis and other team officials and will be formally introduced at a news conference Saturday.

Oakland has been without a coach since Turner was fired Jan. 3, giving Shell little time to put together a staff and set his priorities before the scouting combine begins Feb. 22.

Shell made eight Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls as a standout offensive lineman in a 15-year career with the Raiders that led to his induction into the Hall of Fame. He replaced the fired Mike Shanahan during the 1989 season and lasted through 1994, the team's final season in Los Angeles.

Shell had a 54-38 regular-season record, leading the Raiders to the AFC championship game following the 1990 season. He hadn't gotten a second chance as a head coach after his firing, a move Davis has said he regretted.

Shell had a winning record in four of his five complete seasons. The Raiders have had only three winning seasons since his firing and are 13-35 the past three seasons.

Davis also interviewed Al Saunders, James Lofton and Rod Marinelli, and had talks with former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, Oakland quarterbacks coach John Shoop and Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.

Saunders decided to take a job running the Washington Redskins' offense, Marinelli was hired as Detroit Lions coach, Martz will be the Lions' offensive coordinator next season and Petrino said he wants to stay at Louisville.