As of Sunday morning, Brian Gaine was still technically a finalist for the Dolphins’ general manager job.
Three days later, he was out of a job — and some with direct knowledge of the situation believe that it was because his new boss, Dennis Hickey, no longer wanted him around.
The Dolphins fired Gaine on Wednesday after six years with the organization. He had risen as high as assistant general manager under Jeff Ireland, and twice interviewed with Stephen Ross for the team’s top personnel job in recent weeks.
But the belief around the league is that Ross had all along planned to bring in fresh blood. And yet, Gaine was blindsided when he learned Sunday that Hickey got the job from reading reports in the media. The Dolphins contend that they did reach out to Gaine before the news broke, but would not say if they were able to reach him.
Regardless, some 72 hours later, he was out of a job — even though the previous week, the Dolphins trusted him enough to run their scouting operation at the Senior Bowl.
Gaine shouldn’t be out of work long, however. One league source said that if he wanted, he could “have a job in two days max.” He might, however, wait until after the draft before signing on with another team.
Though Gaine has not spoken publicly throughout the team’s tumultuous search process, a source close to the situation said he would have stayed with the team in his current role, if asked, based on the respect and standing he had built up in the organization.
Hickey apparently didn’t see the benefit in keeping him. One theory is that Gaine had built up loyalties within the personnel department, and was seen as a leader in the organization, who was respected throughout the Davie facility. Hickey may have seen that as a negative.
However, the organization has allowed for institutional knowledge and intelligence gathered in the predraft and free agent process to depart the organization at an unusual time for personnel directors and scouts to leave organizations, at the height of the scouting season.
It’s not unusual for new general managers to want to bring in their own lieutenants, but Hickey apparently never gave Gaine a chance. Sources state the two men never truly communicated about football matters until Wednesday, when Hickey told Gaine he was out of the job.
The Dolphins went so far as to accompany Gaine to the exit after firing him, multiple sources said. The Dolphins strongly dispute this characterization of events, saying he was not escorted out of the building.
In a statement announcing Gaine’s termination, Hickey said the following: “I want to thank Brian for his contributions to the Miami Dolphins. We both agreed that this decision was in everyone’s best interests going forward.
“This will allow Brian to move forward in his professional pursuits and the Dolphins to move forward with our 2014 plan,” Hickey continued. “I want to wish Brian the very best in the future.”
Hickey might already have a replacement in mind — his old boss.
Former Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik has now emerged as a possibility to replace Hickey as Miami’s assistant GM.
When reached by the Miami Herald this afternoon, Dominik was noncommittal about whether he would end up here as assistant GM but didn’t rule it out. He said he has “a lot of options” and a lot to digest. He called Hickey a “good friend” and said he knows a lot of people in the Dolphins organization.
The Buccaneers were 28-52 during Dominik’s five years as GM, with Hickey heading up the personnel department.
“The record isn’t what we wanted but we were doing something right with the players we signed and drafted,” Dominik said.
Miami Herald sportswriters Barry Jackson and Armando Salguero contributed to this report.