Introducing Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' Coaching Staff: Hi, My Name Is...

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Introducing Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' Coaching Staff: Hi, My Name Is...
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

In the world of professional sports, coaching can make or break a team, year, and franchise.

 

Competence in upper management is key to building a successful staff.

 

The individuals that are placed at key positions, such as general manager and head coach, are the figure-heads of the staff that they assemble underneath them.

 

Every member must do his part in order to build a championship caliber contender, and no stone goes unturned.

 

Every position has a coach that specializes in their respective areas, and it breaks down into a lot more than just the offensive and defensive coordinators.

 

While the three most recognizable figures, the head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, receive most of the notoriety and publicity, it is the lesser known members of the staff that play an intricate role in the success that those at the top experience.

 

The head coach ultimately has the final say over the important decisions, but he makes those decisions by relying on the competent feedback of the men that he has strategically placed under him who are evaluating and working with the individual talent on a daily basis.

 

There is perhaps no organization better at choosing the men in charge than the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Pittsburgh has had only three head coaches since 1969.

 

That, in and of itself, says a lot about an organization.

 

The Rooney family does not entrust their franchise to just anyone, rather a select individual who has demonstrated a pertinent level of knowledge that far surpasses that of his peers.

 

Chuck Noll: 209 coaching victories with the Steelers from 1969-1991, 11 division championships, seven AFC championship games, and four Super Bowl Championships.

 

Bill Cowher: 161 coaching victories with the Steelers from 1992-2006, eight division championships, six AFC championship games, and one Super Bowl Championship.

 

These are the two men that led the Steelers to prominence in the NFL.

 

Now, the Steelers are led by the first African American head coach in franchise history.

 

Mike Tomlin, who like Noll and Cowher was hired in his 30’s, has been at the helm of the Pittsburgh Steelers for two seasons.

 

He has two division championships and one Super Bowl Championship in his two years, and the future looks very bright for the man stalking the Steelers' sidelines on Sunday.

 

As great as Tomlin has been in his first two years, he would be nothing without a great staff underneath him.

 

For every great coach, there are great men working outside of the spotlight to make it all happen, and it is time to introduce you to the staff that has helped Mike Tomlin capture the hearts of Steelers Nation.

 

 

 

Garret Giemont—Conditioning Coordinator—NFL Experience: 26 years

 

Giemont is in his second season as conditioning coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers; he was hired on January 31, 2007.

 

26 years of experience make Giemont an integral piece of the Pittsburgh coaching staff.

 

He was most recently the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Bucs from 2003-2005.

 

Before that, Giemont spent eight years as a member of the Oakland Raiders staff; the first seven as Strength and Conditioning Coach and the eighth as Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.

 

In that eighth season, 2002, Giemont was named the Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coach’s Society.

 

Giemont broke into the NFL in 1970 with the Los Angeles Rams as a training assistant, and then served as the team’s assistant trainer from 1978-1982.

 

From 1983-1989, Giemont was the Rams strength and conditioning trainer, and then moved on to strength and conditioning coach from 1990-1991.

 

Before joining the Raiders, Giemont served three seasons as the Chicago Cubs Director of Physical Development in Major League Baseball.

 

 

 

Lou Spanos—Quality Control Defense—NFL Exp: 15 years

 

Spanos is a graduate of Tulsa University, where he was a four-year letterman and three year starter at center on the varsity squad.

 

After staying at Tulsafor a year after graduating to work as an assistant linebackers coach, Spanos joined the Steelers as an intern in the scouting department.

 

After his internship he was promoted to his current position.

 

He is one of only two coaches to be on both the Super Bowl XXX team, as well as the Super Bowl XL team; he joins defensive line, and assistant coach, John Mitchell.

 

As a defensive assistant, Spanos aids the linebackers and defensive coaching staff with game preparation, video analysis, and scouting of the opposing talent.

 

 

 

Harold Goodwin—Quality Control Offense—NFL Exp: Five years

 

Goodwin is in his second season with the Steelers.

 

Goodwin helps coach the offensive line and assists the offensive coaching staff with game preparation, video analysis, and scouting of opponents.

 

Prior to joining the Steelers, Goodwin was a member of the Chicago Bears coaching staff from 2004-2006; he served as the assistant offensive line coach.

 

Before entering the NFL, Goodwin was the offensive line coach at Central Michigan from 2000-2003; he also served as the assistant coach in 2003.

 

Goodwin began his coaching career at Eastern Michigan in 1998 where he oversaw the tight ends and offensive tackles; in 1999 he coached the offensive line.

 

 

 

Larry Zierlein—Offensive Line Coach—NFL Exp: Seven years

 

Zierlein, who served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967, has over 38 years of coaching experience.

 

A career that began at Fort Hayes State College in 1970 as linebackers coach also includes: coaching high school football in Texas from 1972-1977, the offensive line at the University of Houston (1978-1986), working as assistant head coach with the Washington Commandos of the Arena Football League in 1987, and serving as the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football (1991-1992).

 

Zierlein then went on to coach the offensive lines at Louisiana State (1993-1994) and Tulane (1995-1996).

 

The traveling coach spent four years as the offensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats from 1997-2000 where the team achieved numerous notable feats, such as setting a Conference USA record for rushing at 215.5 yards per game (1997) and leading the nation by allowing a school-record low eight sacks (1999).

 

Zierlein entered the NFL with the Cleveland Browns in 2001, and served as their offensive line coach until 2004.

 

After a one-year stint in Buffalo, the team’s offensive line coach, Mike Tomlin, hired Zierlein on January 29, 2007 to coach the Steelers' offensive line.

 

After a dreadful season last year, Zierlein will undoubtedly be watched over in hopes that a year of cohesive work together will help improve the Pittsburgh line.

 

With his pedigree, I would be rest assured that he will round the big fella’s up front into shape.

 

 

 

Kirby Wilson—Running Backs Coach—NFL Exp: 11 years

 

Of all the Steelers coaches you never heard of, Kirby Wilson has one of the more accomplished resumes in generating success out of the position he oversees.

 

After joining the Steelers staff on January 29, 2007, Wilson helped coach Willie Parker to his second consecutive Pro Bowl; Parker led the NFL in rushing after the 16th week, but broke his leg in the second-to-last game of the season.

 

Before joining the Steelers, Wilson was the running back coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2004-2006.

 

Wilson served two years as running back coach for the Tampa Bay Bucs (2002-2003) where he helped coach a backfield of Michael Pittman, Aaron Stecker, and Pro Bowl fullback/running back Mike Alstott to a total of over 1,400 rushing yards.

 

The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl that year.

 

In 2003, his backfield duo of Thomas Jones and Pittman accounted for nearly 40 percent (2,155) of the Bucs total offensive net-yards (5,453).

 

Wilson served as running back coach for the Washington Redskins in 2000, and the New England Patriots from 1997-1999.

 

Wilson coached an impressive trio of backs over those four years that included Curtis Martin, Robert Edwards, and Stephen Davis.

 

He also helped refine the skills of Washington fullback Larry Centers (827 receptions) and New England running back Keith Byars (610 receptions); the two are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 on the NFL’s all-time leading receptions list for running backs.

 

Wilson entered coaching at Pasadena City College in 1985, where he served as wide receivers coach.

 

After earning a degree from Eastern Illinois, Wilson returned to coaching at Los Angeles Southwest Community College in 1989 as receivers and quarterback coach.

 

Following his two years of service at L.A.S.C.C., Wilson served two years at Southern Illinois as linebackers coach (1991) and secondary coach/passing game coordinator (1992).

 

He then coached on the staff at Wyoming from 1993-1994 as secondary coach before moving on to Iowa State for two years (1995-1996).

 

While at Iowa State, Wilson coached the running backs and tutored All-American Troy Davis; Davis led the nation with over 2,000 yards in both ’95 and ’96, the only player in NCAA history to top the 2,000 yard rushing mark in consecutive seasons.

 

Pittsburgh is a team that is known for their pound-and-ground style. Having an accomplished running backs coach is crucial for continuing a Pittsburgh tradition.

 

 

 

Bob Ligashesky—Special Teams Coach—NFL Exp: Five years

 

Ligashesky broke into the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004 as the assistant special teams coach.

 

After serving one season with the Jaguars, Ligashesky moved on to the St. Louis Rams for two seasons in 2005 and 2006 before joining his hometown Steelers as another January hire in 2007.

 

Aside from his five years of NFL experience, Ligashesky also has 19 years of collegiate experience.

 

Beginning in 1985 with Wake Forest, where he served as a graduate assistant, he served in the same role at Arizona State from 1986-1988.

 

After his grad assistant days were over, he joined the staff at Kent State where he coached linebackers and worked with the special teams unit (1989-1990).

 

Ligashesky then moved on to Bowling Green, where he would serve nine seasons (1991-1999) coaching the linebackers and special teams before being named the assistant coach in 1999.

 

His stint as assistant coach would not last long as he would move on to the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, (until 2003) where he would coach the tight ends and serve as special teams coordinator.

 

 

 

Amos Jones—Assistant Special Teams Coach—NFL Exp: Two years

 

Amos Jones began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under the great Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama from 1981-1982.

 

Jones then moved on to join the coaching staff at Temple under current Steelers' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was the head coach from 1983-1988, where he would work with the tight ends from ’83-’85 and then the defensive line from ’86-’88.

 

Jones would then return to Tuscaloosa from 1990-1991 where he would work with the special teams under coach Gene Stallings; Phillip Doyle would lead the nation as the top ranked percentage field goal kicker in 1990 under Jones’ guidance.

 

He spent the 1992 season at the University of Pittsburgh as the kicking game coordinator, and would then coach the linebackers at Tulane from 1995-1996.

 

A four-year-stint as the running backs and special teams coach at the University of Cincinnati lasted from 1999-2002.

 

Jones would move on to coach James Madison’s tight ends and special teams in 2003 before joining Mississippi State as the linebackers and special teams coach from 2004-’05.

 

Amos Jones was another January 2007 hire under the Mike Tomlin regime.

 

 

 

Ray Horton—Defensive Backs Coach—NFL Exp: 14 years

 

Horton began his career as an assistant defensive backs coach in Washington from 1994-1996.

 

Horton coached Hall of Famer Darrell Green for the Redskins before being hired as the defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals (1997-2001).

 

Before being hired by the Steelers in 2004, Horton was the secondary coach for the Detroit Lions from 2002-2003.

 

Promoted to his current position in that eventful January of 2007, Horton has overseen the development of safety Troy Polamalu.

 

Polamalu is one of the top safeties in the NFL today, and much of his maturity as a player can be accredited to the guidance of Horton.

 

A successful player in his own right, Horton had a very successful 10-year NFL career as a cornerback for the Bengals and Dallas Cowboys.

 

He has played in two Super Bowls and his career culminated as a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XVII team.

 

 

 

Randy Fichtner—Wide Receivers Coach—NFL Exp: Two years

 

Prior to joining the Steelers in 2007, Fichtner oversaw a record breaking offense at Memphis from 2001-2007.

 

As the Tigers offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Memphis set single-season team records for total yards, (5,779) points scored, (430) and passing touchdowns (25) in Fichtner’s spread offense.

 

Before joining the Tigers, Fichtner served four years on the Arkansas State University staff as the offensive coordinator (1997-2000).

 

In the spirit of breaking records, Cleo Lemon set nearly every Arkansas State quarterback record under Fichtner’s guidance.

 

Prior to his years at ASU, Fichtner spent three years at Purdue, his alma matter, as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator (1994-1996).

 

Another stint at Memphis highlighted the early part of Fichtner’s career (1990-1993) as well as graduate assistant positions at Purdue (1985-1986) and Michigan (1986-1987).

 

His first full-time position came in 1989 at UNLV, where he monitored the tight ends, and it was preceded by a one-year voluntary stint at USC.

 

This upcoming season will be a very big measuring stick for Fichtner, especially after Ward and Holmes were able to match their catch total from 2007, (123) and increase their touchdown receptions from eight to 15.

 

After Santonio Holmes' Super Bowl MVP anointment, his progress and emergence as an elite receiver in the NFL will be monitored closely this year.

 

With the proper tutelage, Holmes has the talent to be a significant Pro Bowl caliber threat every time he steps on the field…it will be up to Fichtner to get him there.

 

 

 

James Daniel—Tight Ends Coach—NFL Exp: 14 years

 

Daniel began his coaching career at the University of Auburn, where he coached the offensive line from 1981-1992.

 

During his 11 years, Auburn went to nine bowl games and four of his linemen earned All-American status.

 

Daniel broke into the NFL with the New York Giants (1993-1996), but this was not his first pro experience.

 

The former Giants tight ends coach served two different one-year stints as part of the NFL’s Fellowship Program; one with New Orleans(1988) and one with Denver (1992).

 

He would serve his first 11 years under Dan Reeves, and would move on to coach the tight ends in Atlanta from 1997-2003 after his tenure with the Giants.

 

During his time in Atlanta, Daniel aided greatly in the progression of Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler; Crumpler would set team records for receptions by a tight end with 44 and 36 in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

 

Daniel has been with the Steelers since 2004, and his 2007 group recorded the most touchdown receptions for any tight end group in Steelers history with 11.

 

 

 

Keith Butler—Linebackers Coach—NFL Exp: Eight years

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known historically for their ability to pump out some of the best linebackers in NFL history.

 

The focal point of the Pittsburgh defense—the job of grooming this group of men, lies firmly on the shoulders of Keith Butler.

 

Butler, who joined the Steelers staff prior to the 2003 season, stayed on with Pittsburgh after Mike Tomlin’s hiring in 2007; this is not the first time that the two have worked together as Butler was the linebackers/defensive ends/special teams coach at Memphis while Tomlin was a member of the staff as defensive backs coach.

 

Before taking over the men in black and gold, Butler served as the linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns (1999-2002).

 

Butler spent nine years in the collegiate ranks prior to his hiring in Cleveland.

 

He was at Memphis from 1990-1997, where he served in multiple capacities, and then moved on to Arkansas State where he coached the linebackers and was the defensive coordinator in 1998.

 

Butler has overseen the development of Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, as well as fellow Pro Bowler James Farrior; Farrior has led the Steelers in tackles in each of the last two seasons.

 

The linebackers are a central figure in the complicated schemes of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. No one’s job on defense is more important than Butler’s, and his ability to put together devastating sack tandems has helped Pittsburgh’s defense flourish in the famed LeBeau zone blitz schemes.

 

Lawrence Timmons will be taking over for Larry Foote this year, and he has shown flashes of talent that has Pittsburgh fans salivating at his potential.

 

His growth and maturity as a leader in the middle of the defense will largely be credited toward his work with Butler.

 

 

 

John Mitchell—Assistant Coach/Defensive Line Coach—NFL Exp: 18 years

 

There is no one on the Pittsburgh staff that has been groomed for success by some of the greatest minds in football more so than John Mitchell.

 

Mitchell is the longest tenured member of the Steelers' coaching staff, and has been the team’s defensive line coach since 1994.

 

The Steelers assistant coach is also no stranger to breaking boundaries.

 

Mitchell was the first African-American to play for the University of Alabama, and he later became the first African-American defensive coordinator in Southeastern Conference history when he reached the position as a member of the LSU staff.

 

His career began in 1973 under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant as the defensive line coach at Alabama. After serving for four years, Mitchell joined the staff at Arkansas where he served as defensive line coach from 1977-1982 under Lou Holtz.

 

For someone starting his career, I could think of no two better men to learn under.

 

From 1983-1985, Mitchell was the defensive line coach for the USFL Birmingham Stallions, and later returned the collegiate ranks in 1986 to coach the defensive ends at Temple.

 

In 1991, the Cleveland Browns hired Mitchell to coach their defensive line. After three years with the Browns, Mitchell became a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers staff.

 

Mitchell has overseen the development of Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton and defensive end Aaron Smith.

 

His work with Brett Keisel and Chris Hoke drew high praise when Hampton went down with an injury in the 2004 season.

 

Mitchell will undoubtedly be the focal figure in the development of first round pick Evander Hood, and will be attempting to groom him in the same way he did Smith and Hampton.

 

 

 

Ken Anderson—Quarterbacks Coach—NFL Exp: 16 years

 

As we move into the final four coaches, none may be more significant than Ken Anderson.

 

Anderson has directly overseen the development of two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger for the past two seasons after being named quarterbacks coach in 2007.

 

Big Ben has a chance to enter a realm that only five quarterbacks have ever journeyed this upcoming season as he goes for his third Super Bowl ring.

 

Only Tom Brady, Troy Aikmen, Joe Montana, and Terry Bradshaw have won three or more Super Bowls, and with the team that Pittsburgh is returning, Ben has a fabulous chance to join that select group.

 

Roethlisberger has experienced levels of success in his first five years that few others have experienced in their whole career.

 

As he continues to grow as a QB in regards to reading defenses, calling audibles, and becoming the general of the offense, Anderson’s work with Ben could make or break his entire career as a coach.

 

It will be critical for Anderson to continue to push forward with Ben and avoid any kinds of regression.

 

Anderson was previously a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars staff where he served as quarterbacks coach in 2003, 2005-’06, and he served as the wide receivers coach in 2004.

 

Ken Anderson may be the greatest quarterback in Cincinnati Bengals history, and he is still regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history.

 

Anderson still tops the Bengals record books in many categories, including completions, (2,654) passing yards, (32,838) and touchdown passes (197); Anderson also has 2,220 career rushing yards with 20 touchdowns.

 

He has twice been on the ballot for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Anderson still holds the NFL single season record for completion percentage, 70.55 in 1982, and won four NFL passing titles which are tied for third most in NFL history behind Sammy Baugh and Steve Young.

 

Anderson led the Bengals to an appearance in Super Bowl XVI and was elected to the Pro Bowl four times.

 

The most tenured Bengals player in history, he played 16 seasons for Cincinnati, joined their coaching staff in 1993, and subsequently served for 10 years; during his tenure he helped Jeff Blake take over some of his records.

 

Since joining the Steelers, Anderson has helped Ben chip away at Pittsburgh history and has him poised to win his third Super Bowl this season.

 

 

 

Bruce Arians—Offensive Coordinator—NFL Exp: 15 years

 

Following three years as the Steelers' wide receiver coach, Bruce Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator under the Mike Tomlin regime.

 

Under Arians' guidance, as both wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator, the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense has reached new heights in terms of productivity.

 

Hines Ward has emerged as one of the leagues best all-around receivers and was named MVP of Super Bowl XL. Ward surpassed John Stallworth as the Steelers all-time receptions leader, and also holds the Steelers record for reception yards.

 

Ben Roethlisberger set the Pittsburgh single-season record for touchdowns in a season with 32 and his 104.1 QB rating was also a Steelers' record.

 

In Arians' offense, Big Ben has blossomed into a winner…there is no other way to describe it.

 

Arians got his start as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in 1975. He then became an assistant coach at Mississippi State from 1978-1980 before he went to Alabama to coach the running backs (1981-1982) under Bear Bryant.

 

After serving as the head coach at Temple from 1983-1988, Arians held coaching positions with the Kansas City Chiefs, (1989-1992, running backs) Mississippi State, (1993-1995, offensive coordinator) New Orleans Saints, (1996, tight ends) and Alabama (1997, offensive coordinator).

 

In 1998, Arians became the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts where he stayed until 2000.

 

During his tenure, he was one of the most instrumental factors in the development of Peyton Manning. His work with Manning helped mold the young quarterback into the skilled downfield assassin we know today.

 

Before joining the Steelers in 2004, Arians was the offensive coordinator for Cleveland from 2001-2003.

 

Arians has played influential parts in both Super Bowl wins for the Steelers this decade. As he continues to develop a trust for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the trick plays and downfield attack will continue to come.

 

Arians has a bright future ahead of him as the Steelers' offensive coordinator due in large part to the personnel surrounding him.

 

 

 

Dick LeBeau—Defensive Coordinator—NFL Exp: 35 years

 

Dick LeBeau is the architect of the zone blitz scheme that has been terrorizing quarterbacks for years.

 

LeBeau is in the fifth year of his second stint with the Steelers, and he is experiencing the most success of his famed career.

 

This upcoming season will be LeBeau’s 50th overall in the NFL; 14 as a player and 36th as a coach.

 

Since taking over the Steelers' defense, he has had them consistently ranked as one of the top defenses in the league, including this last season where they nearly finished No. 1 across the board.

 

Leading up to the Steelers' Super Bowl XL victory, LeBeau’s schemes were critical to stopping four of the AFC’s top five offenses, and then limiting the Seattle Seahawks to 10 points in the Super Bowl.

 

This past season’s defense will go down as one of the best in NFL history, and with nine starters returning and more than adequate replacements coming in, an easier schedule will give the Steelers a chance to replicate their success as they hope to repeat as champions.

 

After completing a brilliant pro-career, in which he was voted to the Pro Bowl three times, ranked third in NFL history at the time of his retirement with 62 interceptions, and set an NFL-record for cornerbacks by playing in 171 consecutive games.

 

LeBeau began his career as a special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973-1975.

 

He moved on to Green Bay where he served as assistant coach from 1976-1979, and then served in the same capacity at Cincinnati from 1980-1983. He then transitioned into the role as Bengals' defensive coordinator from 1984-1991.

 

LeBeau then moved on to Pittsburgh for his first stint with the Steelers from 1992-1996 where he served as secondary coach from ’92-’94 and defensive coordinator from ’95-’96.

 

LeBeau returned to Cincinnati in 1997, where he served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator until 2000.

 

It was in 2000 that he was promoted, three games into the season, to head coach where he would serve for two more seasons.

 

After one year in Buffalo in 2003, LeBeau returned to Pittsburgh.

 

There is a tradition of defensive excellence in Pittsburgh, and LeBeau has built a defensive scheme that has put this current crop of Steelers in position to garner comparison to those famed defenses of the 1970’s.

 

LeBeau calls the defensive shots for Pittsburgh, and despite a difference in philosophical defensive views with Mike Tomlin, LeBeau was able to maintain his status on the Steelers' staff and gain Tomlin’s trust.

 

As he enters his 50th season, he will look to build on his defense record setting performance from a year ago with some new tricks to maximize the talent assembled for him.

 

 

 

Mike Tomlin—Head Coach—NFL Exp: Eight years

 

Mike Tomlin is only the third Steelers coach since 1969, and he is the 16th head coach in franchise history.

 

In his inaugural season, Tomlin posted a 10-6 record en route to a division championship. In doing so, he became just the second coach in franchise history to post a winning record, win the division, and earn a playoff berth in his first season.

 

Tomlin also became the second coach to win his first three games, and in 2007, his Steelers became just the fifth team in NFL history to win their first four home games by at least 20 points.

 

Tomlin’s coaching career started at the Virginia Military Institute in 1995.

 

He spent the 1996 season as a graduate assistant at Memphis before moving on to Arkansas State for two seasons where he coached the wide receivers in 1997 and defensive backs in 1998.

 

From 1999-2000 Tomlin coached the defensive backs at the University of Cincinnati and turned them from the 111th ranked unit in the country to 61st in his first year, and then had them ranked eighth in interceptions and fourth in turnovers in his second year.

 

From 2001-2005, Tomlin built one of the best defensive secondaries in the NFL in Tampa Bay. His unit in 2002 was one of the most productive in NFL history, and their victory in Super Bowl XXXVII solidified their status as one of history's best when the intercepted four passes in the Super Bowl, returning two for touchdowns.

 

In 2006, Tomlin became the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings where he would serve one year before becoming the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

The Rooney family has entrusted their franchise to Tomlin, and his Super Bowl victory this past season has not only justified that hiring, but silenced any and all critics of his hiring.

 

Tomlin is 22-10 in the regular season over his first two seasons, he has two division championships, and his defense has ranked No. 1 in the NFL each year.

 

He has endeared himself to the legions of Steelers fans across the nation with his take-no-prisoners demeanor, and his ability to be tough yet respectful to his players.

 

There were a lot of worries that he would be unable to win over “Bill Cowher’s players” when he first arrived.

 

After meeting individually with every player prior to training camp, Tomlin sent out a personalized letter to each player recapping their individual meetings.

 

This not only gained the respect of the players, but it endeared him to them as a players coach.

 

He also gave veteran players a day off in the middle of the week to rest their bodies as the season wore on. This was met again with high praise from his players as it allowed them to stay fresh and keep a bounce in their step.

 

One of the best moments of Tomlin’s first two years came in his first training camp when he sported a long sleeve black shirt in the midst of 100 degree heat after his players began to complain about the weather.

 

Tomlin is one of the most intelligent coaches in the league, and his punctual attention to detail and preparation is evident in his weekly news conference.

 

He is fluent with his speech, and respectful with his words.

 

He is not only a great coach, but a great man.

 

Tomlin trusts his coaches to make the right decisions and has total faith in his players to execute their weekly game plan.

 

Despite his differing philosophy with Dick LeBeau, he recognized a great defensive mind and allowed him to execute his plan while putting his own ego on the back burner.

 

Tomlin did not fill his staff with only his guys…he filled it with guys that know how to win.

 

He has coaches that tutored under Bear Bryant and Lou Holtz, men that were successful players and Super Bowl winners elsewhere, and he also picked men that have worked together in the past.

 

This coaching staff is one of the best in the league, and they are carrying on a tradition that stretches beyond a football field.

 

So to you Mike Tomlin, we Steelers faithful say thank you for your hard work thus far.

 

Thank you for assembling a competent staff to lead us through uncharted waters.

 

Thank you for being a great coach who understands the game and can put his ego aside for the betterment of the group.

 

Thank you Mike Tomlin and congratulations to you for all of your success so far.

 

Steeler Nation wishes you the best.

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