"I Spy" on coaches: John Fox

I thought that it would be nice to take a look at some of the guys who run the show for Broncos, to get a better feel for who they are, what they are doing and why. An "I Spy" segment if you like, so I will start at the top and work my way down as I find the time. Let's spy on our Head Coach John Fox first.

(I thank Wiki and many other sources on the WWW for contributing to this review. How did we survive before The Net?)

John Fox was born February 8, 1955, (three years after I was so he's just a kid) in Virginia Beach Virginia and raised in San Diego, California after moving there at age 15. His father Ron was a US Navy SEAL. Fox is married to Robin Fox. They have three sons: Matthew, Mark and Cody, and a daughter, Halle.

He is a former defensive back, which explains why he is a defensive-minded coach, and he has a run-first offensive philosophy. As of the month of Dec., 2011, the Broncos are ranked 1st in the NFL in rushing offense which shows that he is serious about that.

He played football at Castle Park High School and then at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA from 1974-1975 before going to San Diego State. There he played defensive back with (NFL player & head coach) Herman Edwards. Fox received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and earned teaching credentials from San Diego State.

He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at San Diego State University in 1978. From 1980 - 84, he spent his time coaching the defensive backs position for several different Universities, gathering a wealth of knowledge from a variety of different programs.

In 1985 the United States Football League started, and he was hired as the defensive backs coach for the Los Angeles Express. We all know what happened to that upstart league.

Fox then followed his former University of Kansas HC Mike Gottfried to the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 when Gottfried became Head Coach at Pitt. Fox was first the Defensive Backs coach and then was promoted to Defensive Coordinator by Gottfried.

While at Pitt, Fox made some contacts with Pittsburgh Steeler coaches and when Gottfried was let go by Pitt, Fox got his first NFL coaching gig with Chuck Noll and the Steelers. Doesn't Fox sound like a guy who likes the Option Play! It actually sounds more like a guy who likes to "create some options."

The Steelers hired him at just the right moment, as it was following a year at Pitt that ended with Gottfried and staff being replaced.

Let's look at this Chuck Noll character for a moment.

Noll retired as Steelers head coach in 1991 with a record of 209–156–1. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. That quick acknowledgement by the HOF was well deserved. When he hired John Fox in 1989 as the secondary coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chuck had already been the Steeler HC for 20 years!

John just may have picked up a few lessons from that HOF Coach! He then went to work with Bobby Ross, and the San Diego Chargers, as the secondary coach for a brief stint, and then joined the Raiders staff as their defensive coordinator.

That period ended in 1997 when he hired on with Jim Fassel and the New York Giants staff. As defensive coordinator, he helped to take the giants to Super Bowl XXXV, which they lost to the Baltimore Ravens on January 28, 2001 by a wide margin.

Now he has paid his dues, having served under 6 different NFL Head Coaches, and is hired as the HC of the Carolina Panthers in 2002. During the first two seasons, he took the team from last to first place in the division, only to lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (I'll bet he will want to stomp some Patriots when they come to town in ten days!)

During his 9 year tenure in Carolina, he took them to the playoffs three times. I believe that he is hungry folks.

At first glance, some may not recognise the significance of what John Fox has done in his carreer to this point, so I’ll just share what I see. When I look at the long list of coaches that have had an influence on him, and combine it with the time he has spent in the coaching ranks, it tells me something.

The college coaching ranks took the first 11 years of his life after college, 2 as an assistant, 8 as a DB Coach and 1 as the DC. From 1978 until 2002 John Fox has been studying HC's. The interesting thing is that during that span, he was able to analise at least seven different college Head Coaches, their style, and the results of that style, as a part of the staff!

When the NFL came calling, it gave him 6 more HC's at the Pro level to learn from. Having been on the staff of two teams in the AFC West as assistants, it must be a sweet goal of his to beat them twice a year! I'll bet on that one!

Playing the Seelers, Rams and Giants must hold the same sentiment for him, having served on their staffs, and playing any game against Jack Del Rio (the only coach who served under him that has become an NFL HC) must also be fun for him.

I hear Jack is looking for work now, and by the way, I am also certain that anytime John Fox gets the chance to pay back the Baltimore Ravens and Patriots for those SB losses he will be happy to do that!

Take the 24 years from college on and add 9 more as the HC of the Panthers, and it is easy to see why he was hired here.

But that's not the only reason. What's not to like? He's a fun guy to be around. He has a sense of humor and a great disposition, unless you're waring stripes during a game, and he's easy to work for. He also has a knack for bringing the beast, and the best out of his players.

Add that to what you see above, and you realize that he has what it takes to be a great head coach at the professional level. If he has an ego he seems to keep it in check, unlike some inexperienced young HC's.

On January 13, 2011, Fox was selected to be the 14th head coach of the Denver Broncos. He was signed to a 4 year $14 million dollar deal. He was chosen by the Broncos out of a list of 5 possible head coach candidates, and he was chosen because of his previous head coaching experience.

A proven leader who consistently produces stout defenses and thrives off a productive running game, Fox compiled a 73-71 (.507) regular-season record with the Panthers that included three 11-win campaigns, two NFC South Division titles and three playoff appearances. Carolina went 5-3 in the postseason under Fox, appearing in two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl (XXXVIII in 2003). His four postseason road victories rank third in NFL history behind Cowboys Hall of Famer Tom Landry (7) and legendary Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs (5).

Hopefully he will add to his post season road victories this year!



This year he has simply taken this team from what it was last year (I won’t waste time on that) to a challenger for the post season in his first year here, with no off season to work with. I can’t say that I know of a single Bronco Fan that is unhappy about that.

If you ask John Fox I think he will tell you that he'd rather be coaching the Denver Broncos than to be doing this all day....

I for one, am glad that he is!

By the way, Fox is an active community leader in the Carolinas. He and his wife Robin co-chair the annual Angels & Stars Gala benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

I'm Douglas Clancy Hale, (alias metalman5050, don't trust this guy! he's a spy) and that's just my opinion.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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