Oakland’s team ownership confirmed Chet Soda as general manager, removing the word “acting” from his title. Soda, along with Wayne Valley and Robert Osborne, were the members of an executive committee tasked with other high-level hires, particularly the head coach position. Phil Bengtson and Eddie Erdelatz continued to be the front-runners for the job. Soda, a businessman with little to no football experience, was likely to hire someone more knowledgeable for the assistant GM spot. In the meantime, he expected to open a team office in Oakland within a few days and fill more administrative positions by the end of the week.
The team appointed Chet Soda as acting chairman of the board while the search for a coach and general manager continued. The owners hired former University of San Francisco athletic director Jimmy Needles to oversee the candidate screening process. A rumor from a persuasive source hinted that Eddie Erdelatz had been offered the head coaching job after a 7-1 approval vote by the owners, with only Charles Harney voting against. However, Robert Osborne denied that an offer had been made, that a vote had been taken, or even that Needles had been hired as a consultant. Nevertheless, the Tribune reported that Erdelatz had met with Soda and Needles and that he wanted a three year contract for either $20,000 per year plus a percentage of the gate, or a straight $25,000 per year.
On the general manager front, observers thought the team had eliminated Pappy Waldorf from consideration because his demand of a $30,000 salary plus a percentage of the gate was too high. Phil Bengtson now commanded the front-runner spot with Paul Christopoulos and assistant Detroit Lions general manager Bud Erickson still in the mix.
In stadium news, the California State Senate joined the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors by passing a resolution asking the Cal regents to reconsider letting the pros on campus.
Hayward Daily Review
Team owners gathered for the first time following the awarding of the franchise and decided they would hire expert help to assist with the choosing of a coach and general manager. New names entered the rumor mill for both positions, including Green Bay assistant Phil Bengtson, former Cal head coach Pappy Waldorf, and former College of the Pacific athletic director Paul Christopoulos, among others.
After much courting of the Twin Cities by the NFL, the backers of the AFL franchise decided to abandon their effort and the new league released the group from its obligations. EW Boyer, one of the group’s investors, was apologetic, but explained that prospective coaches, such as Wayne Robinson and Phil Bengtson, cited the possibility of an NFL team in the same area as a reason not to join up. The franchise had signed three of its draftees: Cloyd Boyette, Sam McCord, and Bob Parker, but these players would be released from their contract as well. A scramble now ensued to determine the new location of the eighth league franchise. Atlanta and Miami were identified as the initial possibilities.
Phil Bengston, having been offered the Minneapolis head coaching job in late November, announced that he was happy in Green Bay and would not be accepting the offer. Minneapolis team co-owner HP Skoglund said a head coach announcement would be forthcoming within a week or so.
In the meantime, just which league would host a Minneapolis franchise was still undecided. One of Skoglund’s partners in the venture, tobacco wholesaler Ole Haugsrud, announced that he had put down $25,000 in earnest money toward an NFL expansion fee of roughly one million dollars. Haugsrud had been the owner of the NFL’s Duluth Eskimos in the 1920s and claimed the league had promised him the first shot at any future Minnesota franchise when the league moved the Eskimos to Orange, New Jersey, in 1929. However, a potential sticking point was the lack of a stadium in the Twin Cities area with the NFL’s required 35,000-seat minimum.
Skoglund, for his part, reassured his fellow AFL owners he would remain loyal to the group and intended to have his team play in the 25,000-seat Metropolitan Stadium in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.
The second day of the AFL draft saw another 22 players assigned to each team, making a total 33 rounds over the three days. Meanwhile, conflicting stories continued to appear about the fate of professional football in the Twin Cities. Some reports suggested that the Minneapolis ownership group had already accepted an offer from the NFL to play in the 1960 season. Others said that the owners had rejected the NFL’s offer to stay in the new league. Lamar Hunt was in the latter group, but a spokesperson for the Minneapolis owners said the NFL offer would be given preference. Another story said that Max Winter wanted to leave the AFL group for the established league, leaving HP Skoglund and a third partner, EW Boyer, to continue with the AFL. An almost as an aside, it was reported that former University of Minnesota tackle and current Green Bay Packers assistant coach Phil Bengtson was under consideration for the head coaching spot of the AFL’s Minneapolis franchise.