By Steve Ginsburg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The playoff-starved Washington Redskins fired head coach Jim Zorn on Monday after a 4-12 season filled with missed opportunities.
Zorn, who had one year left on his contract, was 12-20 in two years with the Redskins and 6-18 over his last 24 games.
"Today starts our 2010 season," general manager Bruce Allen told reporters at the team's training facility in Ashburn, Virginia.
"Last place (in the NFC East) two years in a row is not Redskin football. Today we can start building the foundation that can make us successful in the future," added Allen who has been in his job for three weeks.
Zorn is expected to be replaced by former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan in the next few days, the Washington Post reported, citing officials in the organization.
Allen, however, would not mention any candidates. The son of former Redskins coach George Allen said Zorn's successor must be an inspirational leader.
"We need to find a passionate coach, a winning coach, that can come in and lead the men that were in this room earlier," he said.
The 56-year-old Zorn was fired hours after the Redskins lost 23-20 to the San Diego Chargers in the closing seconds, a fate the team has endured several times this season.
"What we're looking for in a head coach is somebody who can lead these men that we had in our locker room this year to levels that haven't been played to before," said Allen.
"What I ask from the players on the team is a commitment they haven't given before and we're going to try and find that type of person -- who is a winner, who is passionate about the Redskins and passionate about football."
The tradition-rich Redskins have made the playoffs only three times since Dan Snyder bought the team 11 seasons ago.
Allen said the path to winning had not altered since Hall of Famer George Halas coached the Chicago Bears in the 1920s.
"The formula for success hasn't changed since Halas was coaching," he said. "Team work plus talent equals success.
"The players are hungry. They're unsatisfied. Our fans are unsatisfied. The organization is unsatisfied with the results.
"We do live in a results-based business. That's what makes it the best sport there is," added Allen.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)