According to a team source, Turner, the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, accepted the job at a meeting with team owner Jack Kent Cooke and general manager Charley Casserly.
Cooke was all smiles when he left the complex shortly before 5 p.m., but the team delayed the announcement until today to get maximum TV coverage.
When Cooke was asked as he left Redskin Park if he had hired a new head coach, he paused and said, "Good night to all of you."
The Redskins, who didn't interview any other candidates, originally planned to hire Turner before the playoffs started, but commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled that he couldn't talk to another team until the Dallas season was completed.
The Phoenix Cardinals, who fired coach Joe Bugel last week, also were interested. Team owner Bill Bidwill called Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to ask for permission to talk to Turner yesterday, but he already had arrived in Washington to take the job.
Before he left Dallas yesterday morning, Turner told reporters, "I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. Obviously, I've had a long time to think about it. It's something I'm looking forward to doing."
When Turner arrived at Dulles Airport, Casserly had a van waiting for him so he could leave the airport without talking to reporters.
Casserly and Turner went to his hotel before going to Redskin Park,where Turner had the two-hour meeting with Cooke and accepted the job.
There had been indications that Turner had decided to take the job when he first spoke with Casserly before the playoffs began.
The first signal came when his good friend, Ron Lynn, resigned as defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. Lynn is expected to become his defensive coordinator and bring two Cincinnati assistants, Mike Haluchak and Bob Karmelowicz, with him.
Four of the current Washington assistants -- line coach Jim Hanifan, secondary coach Emmitt Thomas, offensive assistant Russ Grimm and research and development/receivers coach Charley Taylor, are expected to be retained.
One of the assistants who won't be retained, linebackers coach LarryPeccatiello, has hired by the Bengals to replace Lynn.
Turner, 41, has been an assistant with four teams since playing at the University of Oregon in the early 1970s. After spending a year at Oregon in 1975, he was hired by John Robinson at Southern Cal and was there from 1976-1984 before he joined Robinson with the Los Angeles Rams in 1985. In 1991, he was hired to replace David Shula as the Dallas offensive coordinator in 1991.
But he has never been a head coach at any level and will face a major rebuilding program in Washington, where the team struggled through a 4-12 season that resulted in the firing of Richie Petitbon after 10 months on the job.