With NFL training camps well underway, the coaching staffs for most teams are set for the upcoming season. Last year, I only spotted 40 coaches with some tie to Pittsburgh within the NFL coaching ranks. That was down from over 50 in 2017. Here is last June’s report on Burgher Influence in NFL Coaching Ranks.
Changing of the Burgher Guard
This year, I find 41 coaches again with links to Pittsburgh. The number of Burgher head coaches drops to four after peaking at nine in 2017. There are some changes as 10 people listed last year dropped off the list:
Kevin Greene lost his OLB coaching job when the New York Jets hired Adam Gase to be head coach who juggled the staff. Don’t the Pittsburgh Steelers need an OLB coach?
The Cincinnati Bengals finally parted ways with their longtime head coach Marvin Lewis. Arizona State hired Lewis as a special adviser in May 2019.
Jonathan Hayes lost his TE coaching position when the Bengals let Marvin Lewis go. Hayes ended up as head coach of XFL Saint Louis.
Two other former Bengals coaches showed up at Minnesota Vikings training camp this past week. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer (non-Burgher) invited Jim Haslett and Jim Philbin to observe the Vikings practice this past week.
Todd Haley has managed to stay out breaking news since the Cleveland Browns let him go. That’s good news, right?
Mike McCarthy may be taking the 2019 season off. He did interview for the New York Jets position after the Green Bay Packers let him go.
The Packers jettisoned Frank Cignetti Jr. as QB coach. No word on his current whereabouts.
Ron Zook was another former Packer coach after the 2018 season. He coached secondary and was special team’s coordinator for the Salt Lake Stallions in the short-lived AAF. Next stop?
The San Francisco 49ers fired DL coach Jeff Zgonina at the end of the 2018 season.
New Team Leads the Way
In 2017 the Arizona Cardinals led the way with eight Burgher coaches. In 2018, Green Bay led with six coaches, and Arizona & Cincinnati were tied at four. For this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians and they now have crown as the coaching staff with the most Burgher connections at five.
I do stretch it a little by including some subBurghers who are a generation removed from their Black & Gold roots. I estimate that about 6.5% of all NFL coaches have some Burgher roots. Not bad when you consider that Pittsburgh’s metropolitan population is less than 1% of the national total.
There are several gaps – let me know who I missed.
The Burgher Coaching Connection List
|Buffalo||Bills||Bob Babich||LB Coach||Burgher (Aliquippa) Pitt coach|
|Miami||Dolphins||Jim Caldwell||Asst Head Coach||Penn State QB coach 1986-92|
|Miami||Dolphins||Danny Crossman||Strength & Condition||Pitt Player 1987-89|
|New England||Patriots||Bill Belichick||Head Coach||subBurgher (Father from Monessen)|
|Baltimore||Ravens||Bobby Engram||TE Coach||Penn State player/Pitt Coach|
|Cincinnati||Bengals||Alex Van Pelt||QB Coach||Burgher Pitt QB 1989-92|
|Cincinnati||Bengals||Nick Eason||DL Coach||Steeler player 2007-10|
|Houston||Texans||Bill O’Brien||Head Coach||Penn State HC 2012-13|
|Indianapolis||Colts||Raymond Ventrone||Special teams||Burgher (Chartiers Valley)|
|Jacksonville||Jaguars||Scott Milanovich||QB Coach||Burgher (Butler)|
|Jacksonville||Jaguars||Dom Capers||Senior Defense Assis||Steelers D Coordinator 1992-94|
|Jacksonville||Jaguars||Tom Myslinski||Strength & Condition||Steelers player 1996-97, 2000|
|Tennessee||Titans||Mike Vrabel||Head Coach||Steelers player 1997-2000|
|Denver||Broncos||Mike Munchak||OL Coach||Steelers OL Coach 2014-18|
|Los Angeles||Chargers||Ken Whisenhunt||Offense Coordinator||Steelers TE/OC 2001-06|
|Los Angeles||Chargers||John Lott||Strength & Condition||Steelers player 1987|
|Oakland||Raiders||Kirby Wilson||RB Coach||Steelers RB Coach 2007-13|
|Oakland||Raiders||Brentson Buckner||DL Coach||Steelers player 1994-96 intern coach 2010-12|
|New York||Giants||Hal Hunter||OL Coach||Burgher (Canonsburg) Pitt OL Coach 1983-84|
|Philadelphia||Eagles||Duce Staley||Asst HC & RB||Steeler player 2004-06|
|Washington||Redskins||Matt Cavanaugh||Senior offense assis||Pitt QB 1976-78 Steeler TE coach 1992-93, OC 2005-08|
|Washington||Redskins||Jim Tomsula||DL Coach||Burgher (Homestead)|
|Washington||Redskins||Ray Horton||DB Coach||Steeler Secondary coach 2004-10|
|Chicago||Bears||Kevin Gilbride||TE Coach||subBurgher son of Steeler OC Kevin Gilbride|
|Chicago||Bears||Deshea Townsend||DB Coach||Steeler player 1998-2009|
|Detroit||Lions||Hank Fraley||Asst OL Coach||Robert Morris player Steelers UDFA 2000|
|Detroit||Lions||Al Golden||LB Coach||Penn State player & LB coach 2000|
|Green Bay||Packers||Mike Pettine||Defense Coordinator||Pitt Grad Assistant 1993-94|
|Atlanta||Falcons||Mike Mularkey||TE Coach||Steeler TE 1989-91, TE coach/OC 1996-2003|
|Carolina||Panthers||Jim Hostler||WR coach||Burgher, IUP coach 1992-99|
|Carolina||Panthers||Jerricho Cotchery||Asst WR coach||Steelers WR 2011-13|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Bruce Arians||Head Coach||Steelers WR/OC 2004-11|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Byron Leftwich||Offense Coordinator||Steelers player 2010-12|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Antwan Randel El||Offense Assistant||Steelers WR 2002-05, 2010|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Larry Foote||OLB Coach||Steelers LB 2002-08 & 10-13|
|Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Amos Jones||Asst Special teams||Steelers Asst & Special teams coord 2007-12|
|Arizona||Cardinals||Tom Clements||QB Coach||Burgher (McKees Rocks) Steelers QB coach 2001-03|
|Arizona||Cardinals||James Saxon||RB Coach||Steelers RB coach 2014-18|
|Arizona||Cardinals||Sean Kugler||OL Coach||Steelers OL Coach 2010-12|
|Arizona||Cardinals||Buddy Morris||Strength & Condition||Pitt strength coach 1980-89, 97-01, Burgher|
|Seattle||Seahawks||Brian Schottenheimer||Offense Coordinator||subBurgher – son of Burgher Marty Schottenheimer|
I always like to include some music. Coming Back Home. This version by Bebe Winans, Brian McKnight.