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NFL Coaching Trees – Pt. 3 – In the NFL

Posted by Andrew McKillop on July 20, 2011

Post Highlights

  • The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles have had the most (seven) current NFL head coaches as assistants.
  • From 1999-2002 the Eagles had 5 current NFL head coaches as assistants (Frazier, Jo. Harbaugh, Rivera, Shurmur, Spagnuolo).
  • Bill Belichik has spent 20 years in the NFL as an assistant, the most years by any current NFL head coach.

In part three of my series on NFL coaching trees, I’ll breakdown the connections current NFL head coaches made as assistant coaches in the NFL.

While every current NFL head coaches was once an assistant in the league, some have spent more time as assistants than others.  For example Bill Belichick has spent 20 years in the league as an assistant, the most by any current NFL head coach.  Meanwhile Jim Harbaugh has only spent two years in the NFL as an assistant, the least by any current coach.

Current NFL Head Coaches as Assistants in the NFL

Legend: Yrs Asst (Years as an assistant in the league), Tms Asst (Teams worked for as an assistant), HC Asst (Head coaches worked for as an assistant; includes interim coaches)

Coach Yrs Asst Tms Asst HC Asst
Bill Belichick 20 6 5
Mike Munchak 17 1 2
Jim Schwartz 16 3 3
Chan Gailey 14 4
Todd Haley 14 4 5
Ron Rivera 14 3 4
John Fox 13 5 6
Mike McCarthy 13 4 4
Norv Turner 13 5 5
Pete Carroll 12 4 5
Leslie Frazier 12 4 4
Gary Kubiak 12 2 2
Rex Ryan 12 2 3
Pat Shurmur 12 2 2
Marvin Lewis 11 3 4
John Harbaugh 10 1 2
Hue Jackson 10 5 7
Steve Spagnuolo 10 2 2
Ken Whisenhunt 10 4 4
Sean Payton 9 3 3
Mike Shanahan 9 2 2
Mike Smith 9 2 2
Tony Sparano 9 4 5
Jim Caldwell 8 2 2
Lovie Smith 8 2 2
Tom Coughlin 7 3 3
Andy Reid 7 1 1
Jack Del Rio 6 3 3
Jason Garrett 6 2 2
Raheem Morris 6 1 1
Mike Tomlin 6 2 3
Jim Harbaugh 2 1 1

¹ Chan Gailey was only on Todd Haley’s KC staff for the off-season/pre-season of 2009.

The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles have had the most (seven) current NFL head coaches as assistants.  Followed by the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants,  and San Francisco 49ers.

Current NFL Head Coaches as Assistants in the NFL by Team

Legend: Asst (Number of current NFL head coaches as assistants)

Team Asst Coaches
Eagles 7 T. Coughlin, L. Frazier, Jo. Harbaugh, S. Payton, R. Rivera, P. Shurmur, S. Spagnuolo
Ravens 7 J. Del Rio, H. Jackson, M. Lewis, R. Ryan, J. Scwartz, M. Smith, K. Whisenhunt
49ers 5 P. Carroll, G. Kubiak, M. McCarthy, M. Shanahan, N. Turner
Cowboys 5 J. Garrett, T. Haley, S. Payton, T. Sparano, N. Turner
Giants 5 B. Belichick, J. Fox, S. Payton, S. Spagnuolo
Broncos 4 B. Belichick, C. Gailey, G. Kubiak, M. Shanahan
Buccaneers 4 J. Caldwell, R. Morris, L. Smith, M. Tomlin
Jets 4 B. Belichick, P. Carroll, T. Haley, K. Whisenhunt
Rams 4 J. Fox, P. Shurmur, L. Smith, N. Turner
Steelers 4 J. Fox, C. Gailey, M. Lewis, K. Whisenhunt
Browns 3 J. Schwartz, T. Sparano, K. Whisenhunt
Chargers 3 J. Fox, R. Rivera, N. Turner
Colts 3 B. Belichick, J. Caldwell, L. Frazier
Dolphins 3 C. Gailey, J. Garrett, N. Turner
Packers 3 T. Coughlin, M. McCarthy, A. Reid
Raiders 3 J. Fox, Ji. Harbaugh, H. Jackson
Redskins 3 H. Jackson, M. Lewis, T. Sparano
Vikings 3 P. Carroll, L. Frazier, M. Tomlin
Bears 2 T. Haley, R. Rivera
Bengals 2 L. Frazier, H. Jackson
Cardinals 2 T. Haley, R. Ryan
Chiefs 2 C. Gailey, M. McCarthy
Jaguars 2 M. Smith, T. Sparano
Saints 2 J. Del Rio, M. McCarthy
Titans 2 M. Munchak, J. Schwartz
Bills 1 P. Carroll
Falcons 1 H. Jackson
Lions 1 B. Belichick
Panthers 1 J. Del Rio
Patriots 1 B. Belichick
Seahawks 0
Texans 0

John Fox is the only current NFL head coach to have been an assistant in the USFL (L.A. Express).  Hue Jackson (London Monarchs) and Steve Spagnuolo (Barcelona Dragons) were assistants in the World League of American Football.  Spagnuolo was also an assistant in NFL Europe (Frankfurt Galaxy).

From 1999-2002 the Philadelphia Eagles had five current NFL head coaches as assistants (L. Frazier, Jo. Harbaugh, R. Rivera, P. Shurmur, S. Spagnuolo).

The following coaches were once assistants of the team they are now the head coach of:

Coach Team Asst Under
Bill Belichick Patriots 1996 Bill Parcells
Jim Caldwell Colts 2002-08 Tony Dungy
Leslie Frazier Vikings 2007-10 Brad Childress
Jason Garrett Cowboys 2007-10 Wade Phillips
Hue Jackson Raiders 2010 Tom Cable
Mike McCarthy Packers 1999 Ray Rhodes
Raheem Morris Buccaneers 2002-08 Jon Gruden
Mike Munchak Titans 1994-08 Jack Pardee (94) /Jeff Fisher (94-08)
Norv Turner Chargers 2001 Mike Riley

Listed below are current NFL head coaches that have won Super Bowl’s as assistants.

Current NFL Head Coaches Who Won a Super Bowl as an Assistant

Coach Team Champion Under
Jim Caldwell Colts 2006 Tony Dungy
Tom Coughlin Giants 1990 Bill Parcells
Jack Del Rio Ravens 2000 Brian Billick
Leslie Frazier Colts 2006 Tony Dungy
Gary Kubiak 49ers 1994 George Seifert
Gary Kubiak Broncos 1997-98 Mike Shanahan
Raheem Morris Buccaneers 2002 Jon Gruden
Andy Reid Packers 1996 Mike Holmgren
Rex Ryan Ravens 2000 Brian Billick
Mike Shanahan 49ers 1994 George Seifert
Mike Smith Ravens 2000 Brian Billick
Steve Spagnuolo Giants 2007 Tom Coughlin
Ken Whisenhunt Steelers 2005 Bill Cowher
Norv Turner Cowboys 1992-93 Jimmy Johnson

Five current NFL head coaches have worked under  Bill Parcells and Andy Reid.  Four current coaches worked under Brian Billick, Tony Dungy, and Ted Marchibroda.

Head Coach Assistants
Bill Parcells Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Todd Haley, Sean Payton, Tony Sparano
Andy Reid Leslie Frazier, John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Pat Shurmur, Steve Spagnuolo
Brian Billick Jack Del Rio, Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Mike Smith
Tony Dungy Jim Caldwell, Leslie Frazier, Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin
Ted Marchibroda Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis, Jim Schwartz, Ken Whisenhunt

Reference: College Football Data Warehouse,, WikipediaClick here for a list of additional resources.


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