GREEN BAY – For everything that Mike Holmgren accomplished during his time as the Green Bay Packers head coach – and with a 75-37 record and a Super Bowl title, that’s a lot – perhaps his proudest accomplishment is putting together an initial coaching staff in 1992 that had five future head coaches on it.
Holmgren, who had been an assistant in San Francisco under Bill Walsh and George Seifert, had Andy Reid (tight ends), Jon Gruden (wide receivers), Dick Jauron (defensive backs), Steve Mariucci (quarterbacks) and Ray Rhodes (defensive coordinator) all on that 1992 staff before they went on to head-coaching jobs elsewhere. Gruden would win Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Reid, who is still the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach, took his team to Super Bowl XXXIX.
And when Mariucci left to take over as head coach at the University of California, Holmgren replaced him with Marty Mornhinweg, who would later be hired as the Detroit Lions’ head coach. When Mornhinweg left to be Mariucci’s offensive coordinator with the 49ers, he promoted Reid to quarterbacks coach and hired Mike Sherman to coach the tight ends. Sherman, of course, coached the Packers from 2000 through 2005.
“I don’t know if anyone knows at the time how that’s going to work, but I do feel good about the guys we had on that staff,” Holmgren said Saturday, in advance of his enshrinement into the Packers Hal of Fame. “We had a good coaching staff. We had a lot of young guys; we had a couple of older coaches that had been around – (so) there was a nice blend of creativity and enthusiasm. But they were all good teachers.
“When we were turning players over to find the right guys early on, changing the team, changing the organization … you have to have good teachers who can communicate the football to the players. It doesn’t matter how smart I am, I’ve got to be able to communicate something to that man, who then has to do it on the field. A lot of people get caught up in … it doesn’t matter. You get him to do this, and then you’ve done your job. Those guys – Gruden, Mariucci, Reid, Sherman, whoever – they’re all understanding coaches and it was a privilege to work with them. I say with them. I had the last voice, but we worked well together.”
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