The Baltimore Ravens have appointed Steve Spagnuolo to be their secondary coach and have hired Brian Pariani as tight ends coach, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday afternoon. It was also announced by Harbaugh that Spagnuolo has been named the team’s assistant head coach.
A 16-year NFL coaching veteran, Spagnuolo was hired as the Ravens’ senior defensive assistant in 2013. Prior to his Baltimore arrival, Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator for the Saints (2012) and head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2009-11). Also spending two seasons (2007-08) as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator, Spagnuolo was the defensive architect of their Super Bowl XLII Championship team (2007), guiding a unit that ranked in the NFL’s Top 10 in eight single-season statistical categories, including a league-high 53 sacks.
“How fortunate are we to have a former NFL head coach, former defensive coordinator and secondary coach become the Ravens’ coach for our defensive backs?” Harbaugh said. “Steve is one of the outstanding teachers in the NFL, and he already worked with our defensive staff and players last season as a senior assistant. Our players respect him, and a number of our veteran defensive backs recently said to me that they wanted Steve to coach them.”
Spagnuolo has coached for teams that have clinched eight playoff berths, won six division titles, made five conference championship game appearances, won two conference titles and won Super Bowl XLII. He also spent eight seasons (1999-2006) on the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff with Harbaugh, specifically coaching the secondary for three seasons (2001-03). In his first campaign as defensive backs coach, Philadelphia ranked second in pass defense (179.0 ypg), second in points allowed (13.0 ppg) and seventh in total defense (293.8 ypg). Under Spagnuolo’s tutelage, CB Troy Vincent (2001-03) and S Brian Dawkins (2001-02) earned multiple Pro Bowl honors.
Pariani, who enters his 24th season of NFL coaching, spent the past eight years (2006-13) as the Houston Texans’ tight ends coach while serving under Gary Kubiak. Kubiak, Houston’s head coach of eight seasons (2006-13), was hired as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator on Jan. 27. Additionally, Rick Dennison, who spent the past four years (2010-13) on Kubiak’s staff as offensive coordinator and worked closely with Pariani, joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach on Monday.
“Brian has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s top tight ends coaches, and we’re excited that he was available and willing to join us,” Harbaugh stated. “Another factor that immediately makes him valuable to us is his familiarity with the offense we want to run. We are making changes on offense, and Brian will be able to help teach and implement them.”
Pariani served as Syracuse’s offensive coordinator for one season (2005) following 10 years (1995-04) coaching the Denver Broncos’ tight ends. From 1991-94, he was an offensive coaching assistant in San Francisco after originally beginning his pro coaching career in 1990 as a scouting assistant with the 49ers.
Under Pariani’s guidance the past several seasons, Texans TE Owen Daniels emerged as one of the NFL’s top offensive players. Earning two Pro Bowl appearances (2008 and 2012), Daniels posted 385 catches for 4,617 yards and 29 touchdowns in eight seasons with Pariani, including career highs in receptions (70) and receiving yards (862) during the ’08 campaign.
While with the Broncos, Pariani coached TE Shannon Sharpe, a 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. Sharpe led the NFL in receptions by a tight end from 1996-98, averaging 72 catches over the three-year span. He produced 425 receptions for 5,373 yards and 38 touchdowns with Pariani.
Sharpe retired in 2004, finishing his career as the NFL’s all-time record-holder among tight ends with 815 receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns (all marks since broken by TE Tony Gonzalez).
After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1989, Pariani began his career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater under Terry Donahue. Pariani was born in San Francisco and was a three-sport athlete at Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) High School. Brian and his wife, Stephanie, have two daughters, Jessica and Gianna.