Slowik, 53, has eight years’ experience as an NFL defensive coordinator, working in that capacity for Green Bay (2004), Cleveland (1999) and Chicago (1993-98), and has instructed six players who have earned a total of nine Pro Bowl selections. He joined the Broncos after coaching with the Packers for five seasons, serving as the club’s defensive backs coach from 2000-03 before being named defensive coordinator in 2004.
During the last two years with Slowik coaching Denver’s defensive backs, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety John Lynch have been voted to the Pro Bowl each season. Bailey has recorded an NFL-best 18 interceptions since 2005 and leads the league with three interceptions returned for touchdowns during that period. In addition, the Broncos are tied for second in the NFL in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (33) over the previous two years.
Slowik coached a Broncos defensive backfield in 2006 that was anchored by Bailey, who finished second in the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year voting after tying for the NFL lead with 10 interceptions and leading the league with 11 takeaways. Bailey was a consensus first-team All-Pro selection and along with Lynch was named to the Pro Bowl.
Slowik’s group of defensive backs also helped the Broncos rank third in the league in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (13) in 2006 and become the first franchise since 1934 to allow only two total touchdowns through its first six games of a season.
During his first year as Broncos defensive backs coach in 2005, Slowik’s group helped the team post a 13-3 record, win the AFC West title and advance to the AFC Championship Game. Denver totaled its most interceptions (20) in four seasons and was led in that category by Bailey, who had a then career-high eight interceptions to tie for fourth in the NFL. Bailey was named an Associated Press All-Pro for the second consecutive year while he and Lynch represented Slowik’s secondary in the Pro Bowl.
Slowik also in 2005 mentored rookie cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth, who started a combined 16 games, as well as safety Nick Ferguson, who posted a career-high five interceptions to rank third among NFL safeties. The play of Denver’s secondary also helped the club tie for third in the NFL in scoring defense (16.1 ppg.) in 2005.
As the Packers’ defensive coordinator in 2004, Slowik’s unit ranked ninth in the NFL in third-down defense (35.0%) and led the league in red zone third-down defense (23.8%). Additionally, he instructed a defense that recorded five touchdowns to mark the franchise’s best total in seven seasons. Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila excelled in Slowik’s scheme, posting 13.5 sacks to rank third in the NFL and tie a career high.
In four seasons (2000-03) coaching Green Bay’s defensive backs, he developed one of the NFL’s most exciting and productive secondaries. Slowik, who also was the Packers’ assistant head coach from 2002-03, helped Green Bay record the highest takeaway total (116) in the NFL from 2001-03. The 2002 Packers defense produced 45 takeaways for the league’s best mark while the 2001 unit tied for the NFL’s second-highest takeaway total with 39.
His secondary led a 2003 defense that held opponents to a 69.0 passer rating for the fifth-best total in the NFL and tied for seventh in the NFL with four takeaways in the red zone. The Packers produced 21 interceptions (fourth best in the NFC) in 2003 thanks largely to the production of Slowik’s defensive backs.
Under Slowik’s guidance, Packers safety Darren Sharper developed into one of the premier defensive players in the NFL and earned two Pro Bowl and Associated Press All-Pro selections (2000 and ‘02). Sharper earned Pro Bowl honors and was named All-Pro in 2000 when he posted a career-best nine interceptions to lead the NFL to become the first Packer in 38 years to accomplish that feat. In the five seasons Slowik coached on the Packers’ defensive staff, Sharper accumulated 31 interceptions for the top mark in the NFL during that period.
Before working one year as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator during their 1999 expansion season when he directed the league’s No. 11 pass defense, he spent six years (1993-98) as the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator. In addition to his duties as defensive coordinator, Slowik coached the Bears’ secondary during his first three years in Chicago and instructed their linebackers from 1996-97.
Slowik led an aggressive Bears defense that finished in the top half of the NFL in total defense in five of his six seasons. Despite not having a single Pro Bowl player from 1994-98, his defense allowed an average of 312.8 yards per game to rank eighth in the NFL during his time with the club.
In his first season with the Bears in 1993, three of his defenders—defensive end Rich Dent, safety Mark Carrier and cornerback Donnell Woolford—earned trips to the Pro Bowl. Collectively, Slowik guided the 1993 defense to the No. 4 ranking in the NFL by allowing only 290.8 yards per game. Led by Carrier and Woolford, Slowik’s pass defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL in 1993 and gave up only 176.1 yards per game.
He joined the Bears after spending the 1992 season as a defensive assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. Slowik primarily worked with the Cowboys’ nickel defense under defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, whom he would go on to work for in Chicago. Dallas won Super Bowl XXVII with Slowik on its staff, leading the NFL in total defense and limiting offenses to a league-low 27.2 percent success rate on third-down attempts. The Cowboys’ pass defense ranked No. 5 in the NFL (167.9 ypg.).
Before entering the NFL, Slowik served as a college assistant for 14 seasons.
Slowik coached outside linebackers at East Carolina University (1990-91) and helped the 1991 Pirates to an 11-1 record and a final national ranking of No. 9, both tops in school history. He was named the school’s defensive coordinator in January 1992 following its Peach Bowl victory against North Carolina State University but soon resigned to take the Cowboys’ position.
Before working as Rutgers’ secondary coach from 1984-89, Slowik held the same assignment at Drake University in 1983. He was a part-time defensive assistant at the University of Florida from 1979-82, where his wife, Carol, was the head women’s track coach. Slowik worked on the Gators’ coaching staff with Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan from 1980-82 when Shanahan was their offensive coordinator.
A two-year starting cornerback at the University of Delaware, Slowik helped the Blue Hens to a 16-6 mark in his final two seasons and a trip to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs as a senior. He began his coaching career in 1978 as a graduate assistant at Delaware and remained in that position for one year.
Born May 16, 1954, in Pittsburgh, Slowik was a high school football teammate of current University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh. Slowik and his wife, Carol, have four children: Ryan, Andrea, Bobby and Steven. Ryan begins his third season on the Broncos’ coaching staff in 2007 and will serve as a special teams assistant. Bobby is a junior wide receiver at Division II Michigan Tech University. Carol was a former two-time track All-American at Delaware and belongs to the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.