Followed by: “Who the hell is Dave Toub?”
Of the three coaches reported to have interviews requested or scheduled with John Elway and the Denver Broncos over the next few days/week, this is the one candidate the majority of fans know the least about.
If you’re in the business of picking a favorite, based on rumors and speculation, Toub is the dark horse. But what we’ve come to know about Elway in his tenure in the Mile High City is he doesn’t let people know what path he will go down. In most cases, we know when he announces it. At the very least, Toub has done enough to at least draw the interest of the Broncos and get this interview. It’s scheduled to take place today in Kansas City.
What we can say in a broad sense is Toub is the most experienced option for Elway and Denver at this point. One of the potential negatives is he’s never been a head coach in his career, at any level. Though he’s worked with some incredibly knowledgeable and talented coaches.
This story attempts to dive deeper into Toub’s background and let fans know more about the man who could become the 16th coach in Broncos’ history.
Birthdate - June 1, 1962
Birthplace - Ossining, NY. It’s about 40-45 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Valley, right on the Hudson River.
Early years - As this excellent feature about Toub by BJ Kissel says:
Growing up as a kid in New York, Toub showed at an early age the kind of dedication and passion that would eventually help define his professional life.
“I was into weight lifting big time,” Toub explained of his younger days. “We didn't have a lot growing up, so I just made my own weight room. I made my own leg press, my own bench press, everything.
“I wanted to be the best I could be and I needed to get bigger and stronger. That’s how I had to do it.”
We tried to find any information on where Toub went to high school, but had no luck. Still, that kind of drive early in life shows a lot about him.
College - Toub started his playing career at Springfield College, Springfield, Mass., as an offensive lineman. As that same feature on the Kansas City Chiefs’ website said, he went to Springfield College because it was the best physical education school in the country. The feature added that Toub’s post-college plans were to coach at the high school level.
After Toub’s first two years, he had an opportunity to transfer and play at the University of Texas-El Paso, a Division I program in the Western Athletic Conference. This was the move that made his future possible. At UTEP, Toub was a two-time All-WAC selection and two times got Academic All-WAC nominations (1983-84). He also was a two-time team captain. If that wasn’t enough, his bio on the Chiefs’ website says Toub also was named the team’s best offensive lineman in his junior and senior seasons.
Coaching - As soon as Toub’s playing career came to an end, he became a graduate assistant at UTEP in 1986. The next season he became the strength and conditioning coach there. As mentioned earlier, this small town in west Texas would set him on his path to where he is now. It was at UTEP a young Toub would meet another young coach named Andy Reid. Toub spent two seasons as the strength and conditioning coach at UTEP.
University of Missouri
In 1987, Bob Stull, the head coach at UTEP at the time, was offered the head coach position in Columbia. Reid would follow, and as the feature by Kissel points out, Toub joined them six months later. Toub was hired as the strength and conditioning coach, a title he would hold for nine years (1989-1997) for the Tigers football program.
In 1998, Toub became the defensive line coach. But his move to the field was made possible by a tragedy. Curtis Jones Sr. was the Missouri defensive line coach at the time. Less than a month before the season began, Jones died of a heart attack. He was 55. Toub told Kissel that it was a shock, but he was offered the job as defensive line coach.
It’s the move that officially brought Toub over from a strength coach to a football coach, and while it transpired from a terrible event, the path it laid out for Toub changed his life.
"That changed my whole career,” Toub explained. “I was getting out of the weight room and out to the football field.
“It changed everything for me.”
Toub would have that position for two years. After he and the whole staff were fired in 2000, Toub thought he was done as a coach. In fact, as the Toub feature points out, he was set to become the strength and conditioning coach at Ohio University but was told not to.
It was Reid who called Toub and told him not to take that job. As that feature says, Reid told him that he had something lined up for him with the Eagles. Reid was hired in Philadelphia in 1999. Even though the Eagles had a special teams coach, Toub was brought on as the quality control special teams coach. He was the first in the NFL to have that title. In that role Toub learned from John Harbaugh, and also worked with defensive line coach Tommy Brasher.
The feature on the Chiefs’ website says that working with Harbaugh helped develop a love for special teams. Toub was with the Eagles until 2003, and helped Harbaugh become the 2001 Special Teams Coach of the Year.
From 2004-11, Toub served as the special teams coordinator for the Bears. According to the Dallas Morning News ranking system, Toub’s special teams units finished in the top third of the league for eight-straight seasons. That includes a No. 1 overall finish in 2006 and 2007. As the Chiefs’ website points out in his bio, Toub was named Special Teams Coach of the Year in 2006.
Kansas City Chiefs
Now in his fourth season as the Chiefs special teams coordinator, he’s carried over the theme from Philly and Chicago of having one of the best and most consistent special teams in the NFL. Toub’s work also helped Kansas City finally win a playoff game. Knile Davis returned the opening kickoff against the Houston Texans 106 yards, and the Chiefs never looked back.
From his bio on the Chiefs’ website:
Since Toub’s arrival in 2013, the Chiefs have six special teams kick returns for touchdowns (three punt, three kickoff), which is the most in the NFL over that span. The Chiefs took over the top mark for kick return average in NFL history in 2013 averaging 29.9 yards per return.
That leads us to where we are right now.
Toub may not be as flashy or splashy as Shanahan or Vance Joseph. But as I pointed out earlier this week, It’s about character, judgment, leadership, management and communication. Whether your background is offense or defense doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. Look no further than Harbaugh with the Baltimore Ravens. Not to mention Bill Belichick.
“Special-teams coaches are a unique breed. They don’t get enough credit for what they do and what they have to deal with. They deal with the media, the offense, the defense, they deal with the whole gamut. I just think they are as close to anybody as ready to be a head coach.”
Toub is no doubt the dark horse in this race. But as history has shown, sometimes they win.