The Jacksonville Jaguars today named Gary Moeller as their defensive coordinator. He replaces Dom Capers, who was named head coach of the expansion Houston Texans on January 21.
"I'm very excited to join an organization that is first class, with a first-class head coach and a first-class owner. That kind of reputation speaks for itself," said Moeller. "The team has a lot of very good defensive players, and I'm going to do whatever I can to help get things back to where they were a year ago, when the Jaguars had the best record in the NFL."
Moeller had served as the interim head coach of the Detroit Lions from November 6 until January 25, when he was replaced by Marty Mornhinweg. Moeller had been the Lions' linebackers coach since 1997, and he added the duties of assistant head coach in 2000. He replaced Bobby Ross, who retired at midseason.
The Lions were 4-3 during Moeller's stint as head coach, winning the first three games, including a
31-21 victory over the eventual NFC champion New York Giants, which was the Giants' last loss before the Super Bowl.
As the Lions' assistant head coach, Moeller helped Ross in administrative and consulting matters, as well as attending team salary cap meetings. His linebacking corps featured Pro Bowler Stephen Boyd (who played for Coughlin at Boston College) and 1999 No. 1 draft pick Chris Claiborne.
"Gary Moeller is an excellent football coach with a tremendous background," said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. "He is an outstanding teacher and a high-energy, inspirational coach who is truly a football guy and a people person. He is great addition to our staff, and we look forward to welcoming him to Jacksonville."
Moeller was the head coach at the University of Michigan from 1990 to '94, and he was the tight ends coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995 and '96. He succeeded the legendary Bo Schembechler at Michigan, producing a record of 44-13-3 in his five years as head coach. His teams won three Big Ten championships, were victorious in four bowl games in five appearances on New Year's Day (including the 1993 Rose Bowl), had five straight appearances in the top 20, and had an undefeated 9-0-3 mark in 1992. Michigan won a Big Ten-record 19 consecutive conference games from 1990 to '92 and went unbeaten in 22 straight Big Ten games from 1990 to '93 to set another conference mark.
Moeller began his coaching career in 1964 at Bellefontaine (Ohio) High School, where he spent three years before becoming an assistant to Schembechler at Miami of Ohio in 1967. He moved to Michigan with Schembechler in 1969, serving as defensive ends coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1973, and his 1974 and '76 defensive units led the nation in scoring defense. In 1977, at age 36, he was named head coach at the University of Illinois. Following three seasons at Illinois, he returned to Michigan in 1980. He held both the defensive and offensive coordinator positions during his
second stint at Michigan.
A three-time letter winner at Ohio State, Moeller played center and linebacker for the Buckeyes from 1960 to '62. A native of Lima, Ohio, he was the Ohio State team captain in 1962. Born January 26, 1941, Moeller and his wife, Ann, have three daughters, Susan Weeks, Amy Hevel and Molly Edwards, and a son, Andy, who lettered three times as a linebacker at Michigan and is currently the school's tight ends/tackles coach.