The last two years have seen a tremendous amount of turnover at Dove Valley. The roster has changed by approximately 50%, and the coaching staff has seen an even more dramatic turnover -- only 4 out of the 20 coaches we will be looking at have been here longer than 2 years. Before we let ourselves panic over this fact, we should remember two things. First: it is a very typical and accepted practice in the NFL for a new head coach to bring in his own coaches. Second, new to the Broncos does not necessarily mean inexperienced. Consider the following facts:
|The Broncos coaching staff has a combined NFL experience of 172 years.
|The Broncos staff averages 8.6 years of NFL coaching experience.
|One Broncos coach has over 20 years of NFL coaching experience.
|Four coaches have between 15 and 19 years of experience.
|Three have 10-14 years of NFL experience.
|Seven have between 4 and 9 years of NFL experience.
|Five have 2 or less years of NFL experience.
So we can see that it is not like we have a total set of novices guiding our team. After the jump, we'll take a closer look at each of our coaches.
April 21, 1976
Denver Broncos fans were startled when Pat Bowlen named Josh McDaniels as the 12th coach in franchise history. McDaniels was the 6th youngest head coach in NFL history, and the youngest Broncos head coach ever. McDaniels came to the Broncos after serving as one of Bill Belichick's assistants in New England for 8 seasons -- including fulfilling the role of Offensive Coordinator from 2006-2008.
McDaniels was a part of the Patriots franchise during a period that saw New Enlgand win their division 6 times, win the AFC Championship 4 times, and secure the Lombardi Trophy 3 times. In the 8 years that McDaniels was on the staff, the Patriots won 10 or more games 7 times, including a 16-0 regular season record in 2007. New England posted a post season record of 14-3 during this same span.
McDaniels has brought an energetic, passionate and organized personality to the Broncos. His attention to detail -- as evidenced by his overhaul of everything from the coaching staff to the players to the menu in the Dove Valley cafeteria -- has been unparalleled in recent years in Denver.
Coach McDaniels paid his dues as a coach. He began his career as a Personnel Assistant in 2001. The next two years he spent as a Defensive Coaching Assistant. From 2004-2008, McDaniels was New England's Quarterbacks Coach. As mentioned above, he was the Patriots Offensive Coordinator from 2006-2008. His training as an NFL coach came during a period in which New England was hailed as one of the most successful NFL franchises.
Under McDaniels' guidance as OC, the Patriots led the NFL in points per game and were 2nd in yards per game. During that same span, New England ranked 3rd in fewest turnovers and 4th in 3rd down conversions. Six McDaniels led offensive players earned a combined 9 Pro Bowl appearances. In 2007, quarterback Tom Brady earned the NFL MVP honor. Brady also ranked 4th in passing yards per game during the years that McDaniels was the QB Coach/OC. When Brady went down for the 2008 season due to a knee injury, McDaniels assisted backup Matt Cassel -- who had a total of 39 NFL passes -- to an 89.4 passer rating with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In McDaniels offense, WR Wes Welker became the 1st Patriot to have consecutive seasons with 100 or more catches. The Patriots set a number of NFL records in their undefeated 2007 campaign, including most points in a season (589), most touchdowns (75), and 7th most yards (6580).
McDaniels rookie campaign as a Head Coach was less than satisfactory, for himself, for the team and for the fans. With a very short timeline prior to the NFL Draft and a virtually new coaching staff, McDaniels made a number of draft choices that were not understood by the public. His first off season was also marked by the drama of the Jay Cutler trade and a roster that saw nearly half of its number replaced. However, the season began with high hopes after the team raced out to 6-0 start, and the defense -- which had been near last in virtually every category in 2008 -- was a dominating force. Unfortunately, the team was unable to sustain their early momentum and finished the 2009 campaign at 8-8.
Coach McDaniels grew up in Ohio. He was a quarterback and kicker on the Canton McKinley High School in Canton -- a team coached by his father. This was a HS program that had received national praise for the competitiveness of its program. His father was widely acclaimed as one of the best HS Head Coaches in the nation. In college, McDaniels was recruited by John Carroll, playing wide receiver for that school from 1995-98. McDaniels graduated from John Carroll with a degree in mathematics.
McDaniels lives in Denver with his wife, Laura, and two children -- son Jack (5) and daughter Maddie (3).
Assistant Head Coach
Miami (Ohio) University
One of the first hires of new Head Coach Josh McDaniels was Mark Thewes -- whose official title, according to denverbroncos.com is Vice President, Team Administration / Assistant to Head Coach. McDaniels and Thewes grew up together in Canton, Ohio. They played together, and were a dynamic QB (McDaniels) - WR (Thewes) their senior year. Many people remember the story of how McDaniels missed an extra point in overtime that cost his team a game versus rival Massillon High School. What they may not have heard is how McDaniels and Thewes bounced back two weeks later to beat Massillon, a game which included a 47 yard McDaniels to Thewes touchdown pass.
After high school, Thewes went to Miami (Ohio) University where he was a 4-year starter on the baseball team. While at Miami, he earned a bachelor's degree, along with a masters degree in Sports Administration. Thewes' first football related job was an internship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame where he worked in the operations and marketing departments. From the hall, Thewes became an intern with the Cleveland Browns when they were reestablished as an NFL franchise in 1999. He was promoted to a full-time position with the Browns in 2000. He was assigned duties handling marketing and sponsorships. He held this position until 2004.
Between 2004 and his reentry into the NFL in 2008, Thewes worked for the firm of GMR Marketing, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thewes worked in the sports marketing division of GMR. As an account manager, he worked with NFL, NCAA and NASCAR accounts. When McDaniels was hired to be the Broncos' head coach, Thewes was lured back to the NFL.
Thewes handles a wide variety of duties for McDaniels and the Broncos. He is involved in scheduling OTAs, practices, travel arrangements, player development, game operations. He is often assigned to special statistical projects. A part of his job is to insure that McDaniels and the Broncos are in compliance with NFL policies. He is the intermediary between the coaching staff, the front office and the media. Like an executive officer on a ship is the liason between the captain and crew, Thewes manages interactions between the Broncos' Head Coach and the rest of the coaching staff and the remaineder of the Broncos' departments. Thewes handles McDaniels off-field activities, budget and media interactions. Thewes even helps McDaniels with his fan mail. McDaniels see Thewes as a confidant. McDaniels describes Thewes job in this way:
"His list is infinite," McDaniels said. "He'll come into work tomorrow, and I bet there will be two or three things he does for the first time. To me, what he does is invaluable." (from denverbroncos.com)
Thewes also is embarrassed by media attention that focuses upon him. It has been reported that he didn't even want to comment on one story that was written about him.
Thewes brought his wife, Megan, his son Wade, and his daughter Gwen with him to Denver.
June 10, 1984
Brian Callahan was born in Champaign, Illinois on June 10, 1984. He came out of a family with a strong football tradition -- his father is Bill Callahan who served as the Head Coach of both the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Oakland Raiders, and is currently serving as the Offensive Line Coach for the New York Jets. He played high school football in Concord, California during a period when his school went on a 151-game winning streak. He also had the opportunity to play alongside current NFL players D. J. Williams (Broncos), and Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars).
Callahan chose to attend UCLA, but was not initially awarded a scholarship, and instead was a walk-on quarterback. He later earned a scholarship. He mainly appeared as the holder on field goals and extra points -- he did appear in all 13 game the Bruins played during his senior year. He graduated from UCLA in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. He continued his education at UCLA and two years later finished with a master's degree in education.
After the completion of his master's degree, Callahan started his coaching career. His first role was as a graduate assistant in UCLA's football operations department. He was also a defensive assistant. He was tasked with film review of opposing teams, assisting coaches during game preparation, overseeing the scouting of opposing teams' defenses and analyzing the special teams tendencies of the Bruins' opponents.
Callahan left UCLA to take the role of an assistant coach, and later as the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach for Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. In 2009, his starting quarterback was the 4th ranked passer in his school's league, his starting running back was the 2nd ranked rusher and his one of his starting wide receivers was the league's top ranked receiver.
The coaching assistant role that he has with the Broncos is Callahan's first NFL coaching job.
April 1, 1972
Long Beach State U & Utah
San Francisco native, Mike McCoy joined the Broncos in 2009 as new head coach Josh McDaniels' Offensive Coordinator. From those roots, McCoy went on to play quarterback at Long Beach State University (1990-91) -- under NFL Hall of Fame head coach George Allen -- and the University of Utah (1992-94). He ended his college career with a 5-yard touchdown pass in the 1994 Freedom Bowl which gave Utah a 16-13 win over Arizona.
His professional playing career was very diverse. He was first signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted college free agent in 1995, though he spent that season the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers. His first professional playing time occurred with the NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals in 1997. He played well enough for Amsterdam to earn a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers, and was listed as their 3rd string quarterback for one game. He went the Philadelphia Eagles training camp in 1998. His last year as a professional player came with the Calgary Stampeders in 1999.
Following his playing days, McCoy was hired as an offensive assistant with the Carolina Panthers in 2000. Four weeks into that season, he suddenly found himself assigned to work with veteran Steve Beuerlein as the Panthers' quarterbacks coach. He assisted Beuerlein to a total of 3,730 passing yards. The following year, McCoy's duties were switched to training Carolina's wide receivers, including the development of Steve Smith. McCoy helped two Panther WRs (Muhammad & Hayes) to 50-catch, 500-yard receiving seasons. He was assigned more generalized duties as an offensive assistant in 2002, before being returned to the position of quarterbacks coach in 2003.
In 2003, the Panthers picked up Jake Delhomme to be their starter. Under McCoy's tutelage, Delhomme brought Carolina to come-from-behind wins 7 times (best in the NFL that year), and the Panther's first Super Bowl appearance. McCoy guided Delhomme to a career year in 2004, Delhomme's 3,886 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes were the 2nd highest totals for a Panther quarterback in franchise history. McCoy helped Delhomme achieve more career highs in 2006, and helped Delhomme earn his first Pro Bowl selection.
McCoy helped the Panthers turn what could have been a total disaster of a season in 2007 into merely a below average one. Carolina's quarterbacks corp was devastated by injuries that year. The Panthers had 4 different starting quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme 2-1, Vinnie Testaverde 2-4, David Carr 1-3, and Matt Moore 2-1), and not one of them started more than 3 games in a row. It was McCoy's teaching that was credited with helping college free agent rookie Matt Moore to post a winning record in the final 3 games of the season. McCoy helped that decimated group lead the Panthers to a 7-9 record. McCoy continued this pattern of success in 2008, helping Delhomme to a 4th career year in passing yards, and assisted the club to reach a 12-4 record that matched the best season ever by the franchise.
Josh McDaniels selected McCoy to become Denver's Offensive Coordinator in 2009. The division of labor, according to most reports, is that McCoy is primarily responsible for player development and game-planning while McDaniels does the actual play calling during the games. McCoy's rookie campaign as Denver's Offensive Coordinator was met with mixed emotions. The offense showed flashes of brilliance with 8 games scoring 20+ points, 6 having 24+, 4 having 27+, 2 with 30+, and 1 that scored over 40 points. It also struggled at times with 8 games scoring less than 20 points, and 4 games that had less than 14. It should also be noted that under McCoy's guidance, Kyle Orton posted a career year, and Brandon Marshall had another 100+-catch, 1000+-yard receiving year.
McCoy lives in Denver with his wife Kellie, their daughter Olivia and their son Luke.
Offensive Line Coach
July 26, 1963
Univ of Nevada & Sacramento State Univ.
Clancy Barone was born and raised in California. After being a star in 4 sports for Red Bluff High School in Red Bluff, Calfornia, Barone went on to play on the offensive lines of both the University of Nevada and Sacramento State University. Following his college career, Barone went to work as the offensive line coach for American River College in Sacramento, California. He stayed in that position for 4 years before moving to his alma mater, Sacramento State University, in 1991. This started a decade of collegiate level coaching.
In 1993, Barone was tapped to be an assistant offensive line coach at Texas A&M University. He moved to Eastern Illinois University, and served as that school's offensive line coach from 1994-96. He hired by the University of Wyoming in 1997 as their offensive coordinator, and worked there for 3 years. Barone's offensive line played with distinction during Barone's tenure, surrendering only 35 sacks in those 3 years. From Wyoming, Barone moved to the University of Houston (2000-02) and then on to Texas State University (2003). He served as the offensive coordinator for both schools. In 2002, while at Houston, he was named the NCAA Division I Offensive Line Coach of the Year. During his tenure at TSU, Barone's offense set numerous school records in 2003.
Barone broke into the NFL coaching ranks in 2004 when he was hired to be the assistant offensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons. That year, the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship game as the franchise set records in yards per rush (5.1) and rushing yards per game (167.0). Atlanta shifted Barone's responsibilities to that of tight ends coach in 2005 -- a position he remained in for two years. During that time, the Falcon tight ends helped Atlanta average 171.4 rushing yards per game. Alge Crumpler benefited from Barone's guidance with the Falcons from 2005-06, appearing in the Pro Bowl during both of those seasons and totaling the third-most receiving yards (1,657) among NFL tight ends in that two-year period. He also tied for third in the league in touchdown catches (13) and ranked eighth in receptions (121) at his position in two years under Barone. Crumpler set single season franchise records for receptions and receiving yards in 2005 and was selected to the Pro Bowl. In 2006, Crumpler was 2nd in the NFL in touchdown receptions and 4th in receiving yards, and Crumpler received another Pro Bowl selection.
Barone moved from Atlanta to San Diego in 2007, where he was the Chargers' tight ends coach during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Under Barone's guidance, San Diego's long time premier tight end -- Antonio Gates -- caught 135 passes (4th for TE's during those 2 years) for 1,688 yards (3rd) and 17 touchdown catches (1st - tied). Denver lured Barone away from the Chargers for the 2009 season, where Barone coached the Broncos' tight ends.
2010 will mark Barone's first year as Denver's offensive line coach. He brings to that position a wealth of experience at both the collegiate and professional level. 27 offensive line players coached by Barone have gone on to play in the NFL. 5 of his linemen have been considered for awards as the college's best interior linemen, and 3 have been considered for the award for best center. In the NFL, Barone has coached tight ends who made the Pro Bowl on 4 different occasions. In his work with the Broncos, he assisted Daniel Graham in building his reputation as one the best blocking tight ends in the league. Tony Scheffler benefited from Barone's guidance and was able to rank 4th in yards per reception.
Barone and his wife, Rosie live in Denver with their three children: Gianna, Stefano, and Isabella. Many groups seek Barone as a motivational speaker in the off season. He spends a great deal of his time speaking to corporate and private groups, particularly on the concept of team-building. His wife is also nationally recognized -- as a fitness model, and an advocate for fitness programs for young girls.
Assistant Offensive Line Coach
February 16, 1951
Colorado & Roger Williams College
Bob Wylie was born and raised in West Warwick, Rhode Island. He played football for the West Warwick High School Wizards and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1999. After high school, Wylie enrolled in the University of Colorado, where he played linebacker for 3 years. Wylie transferred to Roger Williams College his senior year and received a bachelor's degree in American studies from that school. He then traveled to the University of Rhode Island to pursue a master's degree in economics. Following college, Wylie worked first as a teacher, and later as a school administrator in his home town of West Warwick from 1973 to 1980.
In 1980, Wylie was given the opportunity to become the offensive line coach at Brown University -- a position he held for three seasons. He then handled the same duties for College of the Holy Cross (1983-84). He accepted a promotion to the offensive coordinator's position at Ohio University (1985-87). He closed out his first period of collegiate coaching under famed college coach Earle Bruce at Colorado State University.
Wylie broke into the ranks of NFL coaches when he accepted the position of tight ends coach for the New York Jets. He held that position from 1990 to 1991. His tight ends were a part of an offensive unit that averaged 134.0 rushing yards per game. From 1992 to 1995, Wylie had the opportunity to serve as Tampa Bay's offensive line coach, where he had the opportunity to work with Errict Rhett -- who behind Wylie coached lines became the fifth player in the NFL to achieve 1,000+ yards rushing in his first two seasons in the NFL, -- and with Anthony Munoz. Wylie was not in the NFL scene in 1996, having chosen to take a post as the University of Cincinnati's offensive line coach. Cincinnati's rushing attack (181.4 yards per game) led Conference USA in rushing.
In 1997, he returned to the NFL where he served as the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals for two years. Another running back -- Corey Dillon -- posted consecutive 1000+ rushing seasons, with Wylie's tight ends being a part of Dillon's blockers. Wylie then went on to handle the offensive line duties for the Chicago Bears (1999-2003). While in Chicago, two of Wylie's players (center Olin Kreutz and tackle James Williams) were selected to a combined total of 4 Pro Bowls (Kreutz 3, Williams 1). Wylie's Chicago offensive line also achieved distinction by allowing only 17 sacks on their way to the NFC Central title in 2001, and helped RB Anthony Thomas earn the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award -- as an interesting aside, Thomas was the 7th 1000+ yard rusher on a team that had Wylie on staff. Wylie closed out his first stint in the NFL by coaching an Arizona Cardinal line that blocked for Emmett Smith in his final year (2004).
Wylie took a 5-year sabbatical from the NFL between 2005 and 2009. He was the offensive line coach for Syracuse University in 2005 and 2006. In 2007-08, Wylie was the offensive line coach for the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. During his time there, the Blue Bombers allowed the fewest sacks in the CFL, a feat made impressive by the fact that Winnipeg had to use 14 different starters during that time. Winnipeg also played in the Grey Cup (the CFL's version of the Super Bowl) in 2007. In 2009, Wylie moved to Winnipeg's rival -- the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Wylie assisted the Roughriders in securing their first division title in over 30 years, and an appearance in the Grey Cup.
Wylie holds two very impressive distinctions as a coach: (1)It is widely believed that he is the only CFL assistant coach to have participated in the Grey Cup with two different teams, (2)He has coached at five different levels of football -- Pop Warner, junior and senior high school, college, and professional. In addition, he has won an NFL award for his work with youth in Chicago, and is a regular part an offensive line clinic that takes place annually in Cincinnati.
Wylie has hobbies that include being a licensed airplane pilot and an amateur magician. He has a daughter Jennifer and a grandson Wylie.
June 6, 1980
Kent State University
Ben McDaniels is Head Coach Josh McDaniels' younger brother. Now, while this may appear at first to be a bit along the lines of nepotism, when Ben's background is examined, it is easy to discern his qualifications. Like his brother before him, Ben was coached by his father for two years in high school. Like older brother Josh, Ben played quarterback for his father's team. Ben set records for passing yards and touchdowns (both single season and career), and he helped his high school to a USA Today #1 ranking in 1997.
After high school, McDaniels attended Kent State University, where he played quarterback for Dan Pees. He earned a bachelor's degree in sports management from Kent State. Ben's coaching career began in 2003, when he accepted a position as wide receivers coach at Warren Harding High School. The head coach? His father, Thom. He then went on to graduate work in sport management at the University of Minnesota, earning a master's degree in that subject while coaching as a graduate assistant. Ben coach at Minnesota for two years (2004 & 2005) serving first as the wide receivers coach, then as the defensive backs coach.
Following his master's program, Ben returned to his alma mater high school and served as Canton McKinley High School's quarterbacks coach for two years. In 2008, Ben had the opportunity to once again work for his father -- who had become the head coach of Canton McKinley's arch-rival, Massillon Jackson High School. Ben once again was the quarterbacks coach.
His entry into the NFL came when his older brother, Josh, became the 12th head coach of the Denver Broncos. In 2009, Ben was brought in as an offensive coaching assistant, and was part of the coaching staff that helped quarterback Kyle Orton experience a career year. Orton's 3,802 passing yards ranked as the 2nd highest total in the NFL among players who were in their first year with their team. Ben also helped Orton match a Denver record in their first year with the team: a 90.0 or higher passer rating in 10 games. McDaniels was a part of the offensive team that set the 4th lowest give-away total in franchise history.
Ben was promoted to the position of quarterbacks coach for the 2010 NFL season.
Running Backs Coach
May 29, 1967
Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Eric Studesville's story starts as a defensive back playing for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. After graduating with a degree in physical education, Studesville went from Wisconsin to Arizona (the University of, that is) to pursue a master's degree in exercise physiology. While at Arizona, in 1991, Studesville received the opportunity to coach football as a graduate assistant. He served a brief stint as a video assistant at the University of North Carolina (1992-93) before gaining the chance to become a full-time coach.
Studesville's first coaching opportunity came when he accepted the position of secondary coach at Wingate University in 1994. In 1995, Studesville moved to the same position at Kent State University. From there, Studesville gained a place in the NFL. He gained this opportunity through a minority fellowship program sponsored by the NFL. He worked with the Chicago Bears during their 1996 training camp. In 1997, he was assigned duties as an offensive quality control assistant, a post he held for 4 years.
From Chicago, Studesville moved to the New York Giant, where he took up duties as the Giants running backs coach. He held that position from 2001 to 2003. Tiki Barber benefited from the association, posting two 1000+ yard rushing seasons while under Studesville's tutelage. Studesville also helped Barber post the 2nd highest single season rushing total in Giants' history.
Studesville's next six years were spent in Buffalo (2004-2009). In his first year with the Bills, Studesville oversaw the development of Willis McGahee, helping the rookie RB to rush for 100+ yards in each of his first three starts, and eventually surpass the 1000 yard mark for the season. Studesville molded fullback Daimon Shelton into a top blocker in 2005, and helped McGahee surpass 1000 yards for a second consecutive season. 2006 marked the end of McGahee's career in Buffalo, and Studesville helped him finish that career as a Bill with 3,365 yards and fourteen 100-yard games.
Following McGahee's departure to the Baltimore Ravens in 2007, Studesville took on the challenge of molding Marshawn Lynch. Lynch led all AFC rookie running backs with 1,115 yards, averaged 85.7 rushing yards per game, and led the league in rushing attempts per game. In 2008, Studesville was given the title "running backs coordinator." Under his direction, Lynch gained a Pro Bowl nomination, and for the second time amassed over 1000 yards rushing. That same year, Studesville worked with RB Fred Jackson, who added 500 more rushing yards to the Buffalo offense. Jackson, in 2009, became just the 9th undrafted player to rush for more than 1000 yards. Lynch and Jackson formed an explosive running back tandem.
It is impressive to note that in the six seasons Studesville coached in Buffalo, he had five rushers who ran for more than a 1000 yards in a season. So far in his NFL career, Studesville has developed four different running backs into 1000-yard rushers, and between them they have amassed 7 seasons with over 1000 yards rushing, and 32 100-yard games.
Studesville is joined in Denver by his wife Staci and their daughter Sydni.
Wide Receivers Coach
March 29, 1978
Michigan State University
Adam Gase was born and raised in Michigan, so it should not come as a surprise that he played football for Michigan State University (1996-99). While there, Gase had the opportunity to work with storied head coach Nick Saban. In 1999, Gase was also on the Spartans' coaching staff during the year that a young graduate assistant joined the staff -- Josh McDaniels.
Gase followed Saban to LSU, where his duties included working as a graduate assistant with the defense, recruiting, and serving as an assistant to the head coach for 3 years. While he was there, Gase was part of a program that went 26-12, earned 1 SEC championship and won two bowl games.
Gase broke into the NFL when he became a scouting assistant for the Detroit Lions. He held that position for two years until he was promoted to the role of an offensive assistant working with the running backs and quarterbacks in 2005. During the next two years (2005 & 2006), Gase had the opportunity to work for both Steve Mariucci and Rod Marinelli. He also had a chance to work for offensive coordinator Mike Martz. While working for Martz, Gase had the opportunity to work with veteran quarterback John Kitna. Gase helped Kitna set the mark as the third highest passing yards in Lions' history, and the 9th player in NFL history to have back-to-back 4000+ yard seasons.
In 2008, Gase followed Martz to San Francisco. He had the opportunity to work with an offensive unit that had 64 plays that went for 20 or more yards (as a point of reference, the Broncos averaged around 64 plays per game in 2009). The 49ers also set the mark for the 6th fewest dropped passes that season.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels recruited Gase to come to Denver as the Broncos' wide receivers coach. In that position, Gase assisted Brandon Marshall in earning a Pro Bowl selection, and helped him to become only the 5th player in NFL history to have three 100+ catch seasons in a row. He further helped Marshall set the single game record for receptions (21). Gase was also instrumental in helping Jabar Gaffney to have a career year in 2009 -- which included setting the Broncos' single game record for receiving yards (213).
Gase's wife Jennifer and their daughter McKenzie live with him in Denver.
Tight Ends Coach
June 2, 1962
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Bob Ligashesky grew up in the Pittsburgh area and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he played defensive back for three years before graduating with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. Ligashesky began his coaching career in much the same manner as Head Coach McDaniels -- serving as a graduate assistant on the coaching staff. He first served in that capacity at Wake Forest for 1 year (1985), then spent 3 years at Arizona State University (1986-88). His first official coaching position was as a linebackers and special teams coach at Kent State University (1989-90). Next came, Ligashesky's longest, and final college coaching position: 9 years as the linebackers and special teams coach for Bowling Green University.
During his tenure at Bowling Green, the team won the MAC championships twice (1991 & 1992), placekicker Brian Leaver earned 1st team All-American honors (1994), and five Ligashesky-coached linebackers earned first team all-conference nominations. Following his time at Bowling Green, Ligashesky returned to his Pittsburgh roots when he became the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh. He held that position for 4 years, during which Pittsburgh earned four bowl appearances. He helped TE Kris Wilson earn a nomination for the John Mackey Award for the nation's best tight end.
Ligashesky broke into the NFL coaching ranks when he accepted a position working with the Jacksonville Jaguars' special teams in 2004. That year the Jaguars ranked 4th in average opponent's starting position and 6th in percentage of kick offs that went for touchbacks. From Jacksonville, Ligashesky moved to St. Louis where he took on the role of special teams coach for two years. While he was there, place kicker Jeff Wilkins placed 4th in field goal percentage. Ligashesky led special teams also forced and recovered 3 fumbles, blocked 2 kicks and had returned 1 kick off for a touchdown. Then, Ligashesky, once again, returned to his roots in Pittsburgh by accepting a call to become the Steelers special teams coordinator. While Ligashesky was there, the Steelers never had a losing season, won the AFC North title twice and won one Super Bowl. Place kicker Jeff Reed's 88.5 field goal percentage was tops in the league. The Steelers special teams blocked two kicks and returned both a punt and a kick off for touchdowns.
Ligashesky and his wife Shelley live in Denver with their 1-year old daughter Sydney.
Don "Wink" Martindale
May 19, 1963
Don Martindale started out as an All-State linebacker in high school in Ohio. He attended Defiance College in Defiance, OH, where he played linebacker and graduated with a degree in business education. Following his college graduation, Martindale went to work for Defiance College, first as a secondary coach, then as the team's defensive coordinator. He retained that position for two years (1986-87) before moving into coaching at the high school level.
Over the next six years, Martindale held the defensive coordinator's position with three different high schools (Northmont HS in Clayton, OH; , Trotwood-Madison in Trotwood, OH, and Brookville in Lynchberg, VA). He moved back into the college ranks when he accepted a position as a defensive assistant at Notre Dame University. During his two years at Notre Dame (1994-95), the Fighting Irish played in two bowl games. Martindale moved from Notre Dame to the University of Cincinnati in 1996, where he worked with the linebackers, the special teams and the defensive ends over the next three years. During his time there, Cincinnati qualified for its first bowl game in over 50 years.
In 2001, Martindale shifted from Cincinnati to Western Kentucky. He first worked with the linebackers, and had the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the development of All-American linebacker Erik Dandy. Western Kentucky was recognized during this time as having one of the best defenses in NCAA Division I-AA. Martindale was a part of the defense that helped Western Kentucky win a Division I-AA National Championship. After his three years at Western Kentucky, Martindale broke into the ranks of NFL coaches.
His first NFL position was with the Oakland Raiders as their linebackers coach. He played a key role in the development of Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard, who became one of the best NFL tandems at forcing take aways. the pair also combined for 14 interceptions, 2 of which Thomas returned for touchdowns. He assisted LB Danny Clark in becoming one of the better tacklers in the league -- at one point Clark ranked 9th among NFL LBs in number of tackles. In 2007, Martindale's linebackers were part of an Oakland squad that led the NFL in fewest passing first downs allowed.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels brought Martindale in to be the Broncos' linebackers coach in 2009. During that season, Martindale's unit helped the Broncos to a 7th place ranking in two categories: yards/play and yards/game. The linebacking corp also helped the defense rank 4th in passing yards per attempt and 3rd in passing yards per game. He coached Elvis Dumervil, who went on to record a league-leading 17 sacks and to have 7 multiple-sack games. D. J. Williams also benefited from Martindale's coaching, as ranked 11th in the league in tackles on the way to earning a Pro Bowl selection.
Martindale lives in Denver with his wife, Laura, and their children Cassie and Ty.
Defensive Line Coach
March 29, 1952
Wayne Nunnely was raised in the LA area and ran track for his high school as well as playing football. After high school, he chose to attend UNLV where he not only played fullback for the football team but also lettered in track. He graduated in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He was honored by being voted the school's Most Outstanding Male Physical Educator in 1975. The fall following his graduation he served as an assistant coach at Valley High School in Las Vegas.
His coaching career continued when he accepted a position as a graduate assistant with the football program at UNLV in 1976. The following year, Nunnely accepted the position of defensive line coach at Cal Poly Pomona. He switched from defensive line coach to running backs coach at Cal Poly in 1978. He continued his college coaching by taking on the defensive line coaching duties at California State University Fullerton in 1979. From CSUF, he returned to the offensive side of the ball, working as the running backs coach at the University of the Pacific (1980-81). Nunnely returned to his alma mater (UNLV) and for four years was the running backs coach.
Nunnely's work as an assistant coach stood him in good stead when, in 1986, UNLV head coach Harvey Hyde was dismissed, Nunnely was named the Rebels head coach. He held that position for four years and held the distinction of being the first African-American head coach at any west coast school. He was also only the 5th African-American named as a schools head coach in NCAA Division I-A history. When Nunnely stepped down from the head coaching position at UNLV, he did not leave the school, instead he served for a year as the Director of Minority Student Affairs for the university.
In 1991, Nunnely returned to college coaching when he became the running backs coach at USC for two years. This was followed by a stint as the defensive line coach of USC's rival -- UCLA (1993-94).
Nunnely's chance to become an NFL coach came in 1993 when he was hired to be the defensive line coach of the New Orleans Saints. During his two years in New Orleans, the defensive line recorded the 6th most sacks in the league. His first year there, his line recorded 44 sacks -- 4th most in the NFL.
From New Orleans, Nunnely moved west to San Diego, to take on the duties of the Chargers' defensive line coach. This was a post that he held for 12 years -- the 2nd longest of any Charger assistant coach in club history. During Nunnely's tenure with San Diego, the Chargers experienced great success as a franchise. Some of the highlights from Nunnely's time with the Chargers include: best in the NFL in stopping the run with 2.7 yards/rush and 71.3 rushing yards per game (1998-99), Marcellus Wiley making 13 sacks (2004), and 61 sacks and an AFC Championship game appearance (2006). While San Diego had Nunnely as a coach, the Chargers won 4 division titles, logged 355 sacks (6th in NFL during that period), and saw Jamal Williams develop into an elite defensive lineman under Nunnely's guidance.
Nunnely lives in Denver with his wife, Velda, and their 4 children: Steven, Channing, Aaron and Amber.
March 5, 1968
Roman Phifer was born in New York, raised in North Carolina (where -- as a senior -- he was named the Athlete of the Year by the Charlotte Post), and attended college in California (UCLA). Phifer majored in history at UCLA, and as a linebacker on the Bruins recorded 76 solo tackles and 112 total tackles during his career.
Phifer was the 31st overall pick of the 1991 NFL Draft, and was selected by the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the Rams from 1991-98. During that time, he started 110 out of 120 games, recorded 16.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, 591 tackles and 105 assists. In 1999, he became a New York Jet, and play for New York for two seasons. As a Jet, he started 22 out of 32 games, amassed 8.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 68 tackles and 27 assist.
Phifer became a member of the New England Patriots in 2001. As a Patriot (2001-04), he started 46 out of 59 games, had 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, defensed 12 passes and recorded 238 tackles along with 104 assists. He appeared in 9 playoff games and helped New England win all 9 games. He also started for the Patriots in their 3 Super Bowl wins (XXXVI, XXXVIII, & XXXIX).
Phifer closed out his NFL playing career as New York Giant -- a single season in which he appeared in only 2 games and recorded no official statistics.
He was hired to be the Broncos' linebackers coach in 2009 and played a role in acclimating Elvis Dumervil to his new duties as an outside linebacker.
Phifer lives in Denver with his family: wife, Linda, and their children, Jordan, Angleo and Milan.
7th (2 tenures)
Ed Donatell was born in Stow, Ohio in 1958. He played defensive back for Glenville State, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1979. He moved to Kent State University where he worked as a graduate assistant to the football team while working on a master's degree in administration. In 1981, he took a graduate assistant position with the University of Washington. He entered his official coaching career in 1983 when he became the defensive backs coach for the University of the Pacific. He held that post for 3 years. He followed this up with a stint as the defensive backs coach for the University of Idaho (1986-88) and the California State University, Fullerton (1989).
Donatell launched his NFL coaching career in 1990, when he became the defensive backs coach for the New York Jets. While there he worked with the well-known DB Ronnie Lott. After a five year term in New York, Donatell was brought to Denver by Mike Shanahan.
From 1995 to 1999, Donatell served as the defensive backs coach for the Broncos. During that time, he helped Denver earn three play off berths and wintwo Super Bowls (XXXII & XXXIII), assisted a Broncos defense that ranked 7th in the NFL in passing yards per game and passing yards per attempt. Under Donatell's guidance, both Steve Atwater and Tyrone Braxton earned Pro Bowl selections (Atwater - 95, 96 & 98; Braxton - 96). Denver's defense consistently ranked in the top 10 versus the pass in nearly every year that Donatell was on the staff.
Donatell left the Broncos in 2000 to become the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. He served the Packers in that capacity for four years. While he was there, the Packers amassed 116 take aways in his 2nd-4th years. It is not surprising that Green Bay was in the post season in each of those years. Under Donatell's guidance, DB Darren Sharper earned a Pro Bowl position. Sharper had 7 interceptions and tied for 1st for interceptions by an NFC safety.
From Green Bay, Donatell moved to Atlanta. He was the Falcons' defensive coordinator for three years. During that period, the Falcons were among the NFL's best defenses in sacks and third down percentage. He helped Atlanta reach the NFC Championship game in 2004. He then spent 1 year as a special assistant with the New York Jets before returning to Denver in 2009.
Over the course of his career, Donatell has worked with players who have earned a total of 13 Pro Bowl positions. He has worked with some of the most heralded defensive backs in NFL history, including: Steve Atwater, Darren Sharper, Ronnie Lott, LeRoy Butler and Lawyer Milloy. Most recently, he had the opportunity to work with Brian Dawkins after the Broncos signed him in 2009. He has not only coached in the regular season, but on teams with 15 play off games, 3 conference championship games and 2 Super Bowls.
Donatell and his wife, Shari, live in Denver with their three children, Brenna, Thomas and Steven.
Univ. of Findlay (NAIA)
Craig Aukerman is not only new to the Broncos, he is new to the ranks of NFL coaches. He began his coaching career as the WR coach at his alma mater. His next position was as a graduate assistant at the University of Miami (Ohio) in 2001-02. At Miami, he worked with the defensive backs, and had duties analyzing the offenses used by upcoming opponents. This was followed by a term as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for Western Kentucky University (2003-04).
Aukerman returned to the University of Miami (Ohio) where he spent 4 years working with the linebackers and serving as the special teams coordinator. During his final year there (2008), Miami had three linebackers receive attention as possible Dick Butkis Award winners.
Aukerman lives in Denver with his wife Summer and their son Cayden.
August 29, 1976
Indiana & Missouri State
Jay Rodgers was born in Minnesota and raised in Texas. He played QB for the University of Indiana but transferred to Missouri State University for his senior season. While at Missouri State, Rodgers set several school, single season passing records. After his graduation, he received an internship at Ohio State University, where he worked with recruiting.
Rodgers' first coaching position came when he became a graduate assistant at LSU. He worked with both the offense and defense at LSU for two years before taking a position with Dodge City Community College (2003). In 2004, Rodgers became the quarterbacks coach at his alma mater -- Missouri State. After a single season, he moved to take the same position at Stephen F. Austin University. He spent two years in that position.
Prior to coming to the Broncos, Rodgers spent two seasons at Iowa State University as the WR coach. While at Iowa State, he had the opportunity to assist WR Todd Blythe (who signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints in 2008 but is no longer in the NFL) cement his place as Iowa State's all-time leading receiver.
Rodgers came to the Broncos in 2009 as a defensive assistant and was a part of the defense that helped Denver race out to a 6-0 start.
Rodgers lives in Denver with his wife Melissa and their daughter Avery.
Special Teams Coaches
Special Teams Coordinator
August 21, 1966
Mike Priefer was born in Cleveland. He is the son of Chuck Priefer, a football coach with 12 years collegiate coaching experience and 17 years at the NFL level. He attended the United States Naval Academy. He played QB and WR at the Academy. After his graduation, he accepted his commission in the Navy and flew helicopters for 6 years. He was based off the USS America and served in both the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea.
He began his coaching career when he became a graduate assistant at the Naval Academy in 1994, working with the special teams. He spent the next two years at the Academy working with the linebackers and the defensive line at the varsity level. He also coached the special teams and served as the defensive coordinator for the junior varsity team.
He left the Academy in 1997 to take a position at Youngstown University, a Division I-AA school. He worked with the special teams, the tackles and the tight ends at Youngstown. During his two years there, the school won a Division I-AA championship. After Youngstown, he spent a year working with the special teams and linebackers at the Virginia Miliitary Institute. Priefer accepted a position working with the WR, defensive tackles and the special teams at Northern Illinois University in 2000 -- a position he held for 2 years.
Priefer entered the ranks of NFL coaches in 2002 when he was hired as the assistant special teams coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Under Priefer's guidance, punter Chris Hansen earned his first Pro Bowl spot. The Jaguars blocked 2 kicks and returned 1 punt for a touchdown. Priefer left Jacksonville to accept the special teams coordinator spot with the New York Giants. During his 3 years in New York, the Giants special teams ranked 6th in kick off return average, returned 4 kicks for touchdowns and blocked 7 kicks.
Priefer went to work for Denver's AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs in 2006. He worked as their special teams coordinator for 3 years. Guided by Priefer, punter Dustin Colquitt turned in the top 3 single season performances by a Chiefs' punter. The team ranked 5th in punt return average, blocked 4 kicks, ranked 5th in opponents' average starting position and his special teams scored 3 touchdowns.
Priefer joined the Broncos in 2009. During that first year, Priefer's special teams ranked 3rd in the NFL in average starting position for an opponent following a kick off. His unit had 2 players (Matt Prater and Eddie Royal) selected as Special Teams players of the Month. Coached by Priefer, Eddie Royal returned both a kick off and a punt for touchdowns in the same game. He is only the 11th player in NFL history to accomplish this.
He lives in Denver with his wife Debbie, and their children Samantha, Michael junior, Wilson and Katie.
Special Teams Assistant
May 16, 1972
Oklahoma State University
4th (as a coach)
4th (as a coach)
Keith Burns was born in South Carolina, went to high school in Virginia, attended junior college in Texas, and finished his college career at Oklahoma State University. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 7th round of the 1994 NFL Draft.
Burns played his first five years in Denver. As a Bronco, he was a key part of 6 post seasons, 3 AFC Championship games, and 2 Super Bowl wins. In all, Burns played in 12 post season games. Burns followed those years in Denver with a year in Chicago, 4 more years in Denver, a year in Tampa Bay, then a final two years in Denver. While a Bronco, Burns played in 166 career games, but only had 3 starts. He recorded 186 special teams tackles, 70 defensive tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and 3 passes defensed.
Burns was brought on board as a coach by Mike Shanahan in 2007 to work with the Broncos' special teams. His work with that unit helped Jason Elam kick 4-game winning field goals, and return a punt for a touchdown. The following year, Burns' efforts enabled rookie punter Brett Kern to earn All-Rookie honors, and helped develop Eddie Royal as a punt returner. The Broncos have had five players selected as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week and two AFC Special Teams Players of the Month with Burns on staff. The team has also seen it's special teams record 3 kicks for touchdowns, 2 blocked kicks, the 10th best punt return average and the 2nd most touchbacks on kickoffs during Burns' tenure.
Burns lives in Denver with his wife Michelle, daughters Danielle and Rachel, and son Keith.
Strength & Conditioning
Rich Tuten played nose guard for the Clemson Tigers. He graduated from Clemson in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation. He served as the director of strength and conditioning for the University of Florida from 1980 to 1987. He served the University of North Carolina in the same capacity between 1988 and 1992, after which he returned to the University of Florida for an additional 2 years.
He moved into the NFL in 1995 when he took over the strength and conditioning regime for the Broncos. He has served in that post ever since.
Tuten lives in Littleton, Colorado, with his wife Donna. They have two sons, Will and Matt. Will is a college graduate and Matt is still in college.
Assistant Strength & Conditioning
Buffalo State Univ & Univ of Florida
Greg Saporta was raised in Manhatten, New York. After beginning his college career at Buffalo State University, Saporta graduated from the University of Florida in 1985. He majored in physical education, with a special emphasis in physiology.
His work at the coaching level began in 1981 when he became a student assistant at Florida. He was promoted to the role of assistant strength coach in 1985, and served under Rich Tuten. Saporta worked at Florida until 1988. From Florida, he moved to the University of North Carolina. He worked at UNC for 5 years. His boss was once again Rich Tuten. He returned to Florida where he worked until 1995, when he was hired by the Denver Broncos.
Saporta is married. He and his wife Nancy live in Lone Tree, Colorado.