The Jacksonville Jaguars today named Jack Del Rio as head coach. He becomes the second head coach in franchise history, succeeding Tom Coughlin.
Del Rio, 39, was the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers in 2002, his sixth season as an NFL assistant coach. He previously spent 11 years as an NFL linebacker and had a standout college career at the University of Southern California. At 39, Del Rio is the second-youngest head coach in the NFL, just four months older than Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden.
Del Rio has learned from some of the best coaches in all of football. He was recruited to USC and played for John Robinson, and in the NFL he played under Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, Frank Gansz, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Green. As an assistant coach, he has worked for Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Super Bowl winner Brian Billick, as well as John Fox.
Del Rio joined the Panthers' staff on January 27, 2002 as the team's defensive coordinator. In his only season with Carolina, the defense improved to second in the league from 31st in 2001. Despite coming off a 1-15 season, the Panthers' defense allowed only 290.4 yards per game, behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina led the NFL in fewest rushing yards per attempt (3.7) and were second in three other categories: fewest yards per play, third down efficiency and sacks (52). The Panthers allowed only 302 points, fourth fewest in the league. They did not allow a 300-yard passer and didn't yield a 100-yard rusher until the season finale. The Panthers' Julius Peppers was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
From 1999 to 2001, Del Rio was the linebackers coach of the Baltimore Ravens, helping the team win Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants. For those three years, all of which the Ravens finished second in total defense, Del Rio coached the Ravens' talented linebackers, overseeing the development of Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Ray Lewis, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. During the Ravens' Super Bowl championship season in 2000, Baltimore's defense set the NFL 16-game record by allowing only 165 points and recording four shutouts, one shy of the post-1970 record. The group also led the NFL with 49 forced turnovers. The defense continued its domination in the playoffs, allowing just one touchdown in four games. The lone score allowed in the Ravens' 34-7 Super Bowl win over the New York Giants came on a kickoff return.
Del Rio coached two seasons in New Orleans, as the linebackers coach in 1998 and the assistant strength coach in 1997.
An 11-year NFL veteran, Del Rio was a third-round choice by the New Orleans Saints in 1985. He was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team and earned the Saints' Rookie of the Year award in 1985. Following two seasons in New Orleans, Del Rio played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-88), Dallas Cowboys (1989-91) and Minnesota Vikings (1992-95). He led the Vikings in tackles three straight years (1992-94) and played in the Pro Bowl following the 1994 season. During his career, Del Rio recorded 1,078 tackles, registered 12 quarterback sacks, made 13 interceptions and started more than 100 consecutive games between 1989 and 1994. He went to the playoffs once with the Cowboys and three times with the Vikings.
Del Rio was a four-year starter from 1981 to '84 at Southern California, where he earned consensus All-America honors as a senior and was runner-up for the Lombardi Award. The Trojans were 30-15-1 during his four seasons, three times ranked among the top 15 teams in the country. He played in the 1982 Fiesta Bowl and was co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl. He led the Trojans in tackles for a loss three years in a row and played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Japan Bowl. Del Rio finished his career with 340 tackles, 58 for a loss, five fumble recoveries and one interception. Drafted out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, Del Rio batted .340 while playing catcher on Southern California's baseball team in 1983 and '84. He was a teammate of current Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson and former major league slugger Mark McGwire. Del Rio graduated from Hayward (Calif.) High School and holds a political science degree from the University of Kansas, which he finished while playing for the Chiefs. Born April 4, 1963 in Castro Valley, Calif., he and his wife, Linda, have three daughters: Lauren, Hope and Aubrey, and a son: Luke.
College: Linebacker, Southern California 1981-84.
Pro career: Linebacker, New Orleans Saints 1985-86, Kansas City Chiefs 1987-88, Dallas Cowboys 1989-91, Minnesota Vikings 1992-95.
Pro coach: New Orleans Saints 1997-98, Baltimore Ravens 1999-2001, Carolina Panthers 2002, Jacksonville Jaguars 2003 (head coach).