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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Dave Gettleman is going right to work as the New York Giants' general manager.
There is plenty to fix with a team that has two wins entering the final weekend of the season, starting with finding a new head coach.
There is not a lot of time to waste, either. With the regular season ending Sunday, there are going to be good head coaches getting pink slips around the league. The week also gives the Giants a chance to talk to coaches on teams that have a first-round playoff bye.
Gettleman and Giants co-owner John Mara want to be position to talk to those people and others, so mark Monday as the day the search starts.
Gettleman wants his coach to be someone with intelligence, leadership ability and vision, equating the job with that of a chief executive.
Mara said the Giants want someone with NFL experience, either as a head coach or a coordinator.
Giants interim coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will get an interview. Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks also has to be considered a candidate.
Having worked with the likes of Marv Levy, Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin, Gettleman knows what he wants.
"My idea is, toughness is important," Gettleman said Friday at a news conference to discuss his hiring. "Every successful head coach I've been around has been tough. Now, maybe the delivery was different, but they were tough."
That might describe Gettleman, too. He's an old-fashioned football man. He has 30 years NFL experience, including 15 years with the Giants before he went to Carolina to become the Panthers' general manager in 2013. He lasted four years, taking the team to the Super Bowl in the 2015 season and being fired the next year after the team missed the playoffs.
Gettleman believes defense wins championships, big linemen allow teams to compete, there is no such thing as too many great players at one position and being able to run the ball, to stop the run and pressure the passer is the best way to win.
"My plan is to come in here every day and kick ass," the 66-year-old Gettleman said. "That's my plan, OK? And I'm going to keep doing it until they either take my key card or the Lord calls me home."
The Giants needed just over three weeks to find a successor to Jerry Reese, who was fired on Dec. 4 along with second-year head coach Ben McAdoo with the team spiraling with a 2-10 record and fans upset with the benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning that weekend.
"Given the state of our team at the moment and with all of the difficult and important decisions that we have facing us, we believed it was important to bring in somebody who had experience as a general manager. Somebody with a proven track record," Mara said.
Gettleman clearly met the criteria, and his history with the Giants made him the perfect fit.
Talking with a rich Boston accent, Gettleman described himself as inveterate film watcher. He plans to build the team through every avenue possible, draft, trade, waiver wire, free agency. He is a firm believer in handling issues through communication and collaboration.
He believes Manning can play for the Giants, and he wants to get to know Odell Beckham Jr. before talking about a new contract.
Gettleman is the Giants' fourth general manager since 1979, following George Young, Ernie Accorsi and Reese, who held the job for 11 seasons and helped the team win two Super Bowls.
Gettleman refused to predict how long it would take to fix the Giants, who are 2-13 this season.
"There are some very good players on this team," he said. "It's not crash and burn, it's not torch the whole place and dump 63 and bring another new 63 in. There's some darn good players on this team. There's always hope and I'd like to think that you look at my resume, you think I've got a chance."
The Giants interviewed four men for the job, including interim general manager Kevin Abrams, the assistant GM for 16 years, Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and former NFL personnel executive and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.
Gettleman originally joined the Giants in the spring of 1998 as then-pro personnel director Tim Rooney's assistant. He was promoted to pro personnel director the following year upon Rooney's retirement.
In his four seasons, Carolina was 40-23-1 and won three consecutive NFC South titles. In 2015, Gettleman was chosen The Sporting News' NFL Executive of the Year after the Panthers finished an NFL-best 15-1 record and advanced to the Super Bowl.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Gettleman is 66, not 67.
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