Jason Garrett will return as coach of the Dallas Cowboys next season after leading them to a 5-3 record as the replacement for the fired Wade Phillips.
Garrett, 44, spent 3 1/2 seasons as offensive coordinator in Dallas. He turned down a head coaching offer from the Baltimore Ravens and became the National Football League’s highest-paid assistant at $3.5 million a year, according to ESPN.
After the Cowboys started 1-7, owner Jerry Jones fired Phillips and promoted Garrett on an interim basis. Garrett won his first two games, against the New York Giants and Detroit Lions, and the team finished 6-10, tied for last in the National Football Conference East.
“While the 2010 season did not play out the way any of us would have liked, it did give us the opportunity to evaluate Jason Garrett under pressure,” Jones said today in a press conference. “He passed the test. He has my respect.”
Under Garrett, the Cowboys averaged 29.1 points a game, more than a touchdown improvement on the 20.1 points under Phillips. The Cowboys had the worst scoring defense in the NFC when Phillips was fired and it remained the worst at the end of the season. Dallas allowed 27.2 points a game this year, its highest average in more than 20 seasons.
Jones said at the time of the promotion that Garrett was a part of the Cowboys’ long-term thinking and that he thought the former offensive coordinator had the ability to change the culture in the locker room.
A graduate of Princeton University in 1989, Garrett holds the Ivy League record with a 66.5 career completion percentage. Garrett played eight NFL seasons as a quarterback with the Cowboys and Giants.
“I was fortunate to be on team here in the 90s that went to the top of the National Football League and I understand how those teams played,” Garrett said in a press conference. “I like to refer to it as the ‘Cowboy Way.’”
He is the second interim head coach to get the job full-time this offseason. On Jan. 3, the Minnesota Vikings hired Leslie Frazier after he posted a 3-3 record as a midseason replacement for Brad Childress.