MIAMI — Adam Gase emerged as the front-runner Friday in the Miami Dolphins‘ coaching search.
The Chicago offensive co-ordinator was the first candidate in a crowded field to be invited for a second interview with the Dolphins, a personal familiar with the situation said. The person confirmed the interview, scheduled for Saturday, to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team wasn’t discussing its plans publicly.
Gase, the NFL’s hottest head coaching candidate among assistants, first met with the Dolphins on Thursday. He also interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Eagles on Tuesday, the Browns on Wednesday and the Giants on Friday.
The Dolphins interviewed former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone and Miami interim coach Dan Campbell on Friday. Campbell is not expected to be retained, and Miami has interviewed six candidates to replace him.
The Bills went 15-17 with Marrone as coach in 2013-14, including 9-7 in his second year — one of their two winning seasons since 2000.
Miami has also met with former NFL coaches Mike Shanahan and Mike Smith. Other candidates interviewed have been Lions defensive co-ordinator Teryl Austin, and Bills running backs coach and assistant head coach Anthony Lynn.
But the buzz about Gase, 37, has been building in South Florida all week. Gase is a protege of Nick Saban, who coached the Dolphins in 2005-06.
A year ago Gase followed head coach John Fox from Denver to Chicago after interviewing for head jobs with the Bears, 49ers, Bills and Falcons. He hasn’t been a head coach but has been a target of NFL head coaching searches for at least three years.
Gase spent six seasons on Denver’s staff. He was offensive co-ordinator when the Broncos and Peyton Manning scored an NFL-record 606 points and advanced to the Super Bowl in 2013, and when they scored 482 points the following season.
Gase worked Saban’s staff at Michigan State while a student there. He followed Saban to Louisiana State and was a graduate assistant and recruiting assistant before beginning his NFL career in 2003.