By Larry Fine
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Tom Coughlin era with the New York Giants is over but on Tuesday the likely Hall of Fame coach left the door open to coaching again in the National Football League.
"I'm not necessarily done with coaching," the 69-year-old Coughlin said during his farewell news conference at the Giants practice facility. "Thank you very much for asking."
Coughlin, who won two Super Bowl championships during his 12-year reign as coach of the Giants announced on Monday he was resigning after meeting with team owners a day after completing his second successive 6-10 season.
It marked three consecutive losing seasons and the fourth straight year the Giants missed the playoffs for a coach who was 102-90 during his tenure and 8-3 in the postseason.
But Coughlin showed he still had the spirit to continue despite a 2015 campaign marked by a string of close losses, including eight decided by a total of 26 points with the Giants leading until the final seconds on six occasions.
"If this was 7-9, I would have been in (co-owner John Mara's) office and (co-owner Steve Tisch's) office. How do you lose six games in 30 seconds and not be competitive?"
Mara followed Coughlin to the podium and said it was time for a change despite his high regard and debt of thanks to Coughlin.
"He's a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame person. He leaves big shoes to fill," said Mara.
Mara acknowledged that the Giants had to improve their roster, particularly on the defensive side, but chose to retain general manager Jerry Reese and begin a search for a new coach.
He said Coughlin broached his voluntary exit, though added: "I think it was as much mutual as anything else.
"Twelve years is a long time to be a head coach in the NFL," Mara said. "It's just time. It's just time. I think he realized it more so than anybody else."
Mara said the team would like Coughlin to come back in an advisory role.
"I don't want to let all that knowledge walk out the door. I asked him to think about it over the next few days," said Mara.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)