Tony Sparano named Jets' offensive coordinator
Well, that didn't take long.
Barely 12 hours after Brian Schottenheimer announced in a release through the team Tuesday night that he decided not to come back for a seventh season, the Jets named former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano as their offensive coordinator.
"I'm very proud to be part of such an outstanding organization and to have an opportunity to work with these players," Sparano said in a statement released through the Jets. "I know this division very well and I'm looking forward to that challenge. I'd like to thank Mr. [Woody] Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum and Coach [Rex] Ryan for giving me the opportunity."
Sparano, who was Miami's head coach for three-plus seasons, was fired by the Dolphins in December in the midst of a 4-9 campaign. He's a member of the Bill Parcells coaching tree, starting off as a tight ends coach under Parcells in Dallas in 2003 before eventually being elevated to the offensive line coach as well as the assistant head coach prior to leaving for Miami in 2008.
Sparano called the plays with the Cowboys in 2006, so he has experience in that department. Matter of fact, when Sean Payton left the Dallas staff to take over as the Saints head coach, he wanted to bring Sparano with him but Parcells wouldn't allow it.
"When we sat down with Tony, I knew that he was the right person at the right time for our offense," head coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "I've admired his work as a competitor in the division for the past three seasons. His teams were always physical, tough and hard-nosed."
Now, Sparano has the challenge of improving an offense that ranked 25th overall this season, averaging just 23.6 points and 311 yards per game despite what many felt were enough weapons to be among the league's elite offense. Former Chiefs coach Todd Haley is reportedly meeting with the Jets on Wednesday to discuss openings on the coaching staff as well.
Schottenheimer, 38, was under fire for a floundering offense that ranked 25th overall despite lofty expectations. He interviewed for the Jaguars' head-coaching job, but Jacksonville chose Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey Tuesday, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Schottenheimer signed an extension during the offseason and had two years worth a reported $3 million left on it.
"After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012," Schottenheimer said in the statement released by the Jets. "I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years I have been here. I am grateful for the relationships that I have with our players and coaches and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into our success.
As for Schottenheimer's next move, the Birmingham News reported he's expected to meet Wednesday with Alabama coach Nick Saban about the Crimson Tide's vacant offensive coordinator position. The report says Saban wants to hire an experienced offensive coordinator to help lead the national champion Tide next season.
Schottenheimer is familiar with the landscape of the SEC, having backed up Danny Wuerffel at Florida in the mid-1990s under coach Steve Spurrier.