A lot of mystery surrounded the compilation of the Kansas City Chiefs new front office and coaching staff this past off season. On Dec. 15, 2008, before the season had even ended, President/General Manager Carl Peterson announced he'd be stepping down after 20 years with the franchise.
On Jan. 13, 2009, Scott Pioli was named the team's new GM. During that month between Peterson's resignation and Pioli's hiring, there was much speculation about who the franchise's next decision maker would be. Many fans hoped Bill Cowher would return to Kansas City, where he'd been an assistant under Marty Schottenheimer. Some speculated Schottenheimer might even take a Bill Parcells-esque role as a consultant.
Now, months after Pioli's hiring, it's still unclear what GM candidates owner Clark Hunt talked to, or even how many. We also don't know where Hunt and Pioli's meetings were held or when they began negotiations.
The head coaching search was also plagued by a lack of information, and even a bit of misinformation. When Pioli was hired, one of the first questions he had to address was what his plans were for incumbent head coach Herm Edwards. Pioli said he respected Edwards, he'd talk to him about the job, and his mind was not yet made up on Edwards' future.
10 days later, Edwards was fired. To this day, no one can say with absolute certainty whether Edwards was seriously considered for retention or if it was just a dog-and-pony show.
Once it became clear Kansas City was in the market for a new head coach, several candidates' names started circulating around NFL rumor mills, such as former Broncos head man Mike Shanahan and current Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. ESPN's Chris Mortensen even reported Kansas City and Shanahan had reached an agreement, which would later prove to be false.
As the playoffs wore on and the Arizona Cardinals continued their Cinderella run to the Super Bowl, it became clear their offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, was a probable favorite for the Chiefs head coaching job. On Feb. 6, Haley was given the nod.
What assistant coaches would Haley keep around? Which new ones would he hire? On Feb. 17, the Chiefs announced the hiring of seven new assistants and the retention of four from Edwards' staff. However, their roles and titles were withheld until a later date.
Now, we know who is doing what and coaching whom.
Maurice Carthon is Kansas CIty's assistant head coach. He spent the last two seasons with Haley in Arizona, serving as running backs coach, where he guided Tim Hightower to the franchise rookie rushing record in '08. Prior to Carthon's stint in the desert, he spent two years as the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator, where under his tutelage, Kellen Winslow led all tight ends in receptions in '06.
Carthon also worked with Haley as a member of the Cowboys staff in 2004, where he served as the offensive coordinator and Haley as the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach.
Chiefs Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is one of the few holdovers from the Edwards' regime, and it's been speculated that Pioli and Hunt liked him so much, he was going to remain in the picture regardless of who they hired as head coach.
Gailey worked somewhat of a miracle in 2008, successfully switching mid-season from an offense predicated off power running and play action, to a spread, after starting quarterback Brodie Croyle was lost for the year and Tyler Thigpen took over.
Gailey's resume is impressive, as he owns 15 years of NFL coaching experience, two as a head coach and six as an offensive coordinator. He's known for crafting strong rushing attacks, but last season's performance showcased his ability to make adjustments on the fly.
Gary Gibbs was the first name leaked in terms of Haley's new coaching staff, and many thought he would become the Chiefs' next defensive coordinator, given he'd spent the previous three years at that post for the New Orleans Saints. However, the title of defensive coordinator was instead given to Clancy Pendergast, who has spent the last five seasons as the shot-caller for Arizona's defense.
He and and Haley also worked together in Dallas.
Most of Pendergast's experience has come working with defensive backs, but he proved to be well-rounded during the Cardinals' Super Bowl run last year, where his defense forced an NFL-best 13 turnovers and 10 sacks in the playoffs. Arizona also allowed just 72.5 rushing yards per game in the 2008 postseason, while limiting opponents to a passer rating of 72.
Pendergast will work closely with Kansas City's young defensive secondary, one of the team's few bright spots from the 2008 season.
Perhaps the most intriguing member of Kansas City's coaching staff is defensive line coach Tim Krumrie, who is also a holdover from the Edwards era. Krumrie's popularity grew with fans after the airing of HBO's Hard Knocks, where he became known for getting after his players with colorful language.
Perhaps Krumrie's beiggest accomplishment as a coach is the success of Jared Allen. Allen joined the Chiefs as a little-known, fourth-round pick out of Idaho State, and he left as one of the league's premier pass rushers.
While developing a talent like that is impressive, Krumrie did oversee Kansas City's 2008 D-line that produced just eight sacks all of last season. Krumrie now has two defensive linemen who were taken in the top-five of the last two drafts in rookie DE Tyson Jackson and second-year tackle Glenn Dorsey. This season could be a very telling one in terms of Krumrie's ability to cultivate young talent.
In all, Kansas City's coaching staff is a very experienced bunch, having five coaches who've spent time as either a coordinator or head coach in the NFL. With new offensive and defensive schemes to implement and 46 rookies and second-year players on the roster, that experience should come in handy.
FULL LIST OF COACHING STAFF
Todd Haley - Head Coach
Maurice - Carthon Assistant Head Coach
Chan Gailey - Offensive Coordinator
Clancy Pendergast - Defensive Coordinator
Steve Hoffman - Special Teams
Bob Bicknell - Tight Ends
Dedric Ward - Wide Receivers
Bill Muir - Offensive Line
Joe D'Alessandris - Assistant Offensive Line
Gary Gibbs - Linebackers
Tim Krumrie -Defensive Line
Ronnie Bradford - Defensive Assistant
Joel Collier - Defensive Assistant
Pat Perles - Defensive Quality Control
Nick Sirianni - Offensive Quality Control
Cedric Smith - Strength and Conditioning
Brent Salazar - Assistant Strength and Conditioning