McCarthy revamps Packers coaching staff

McCarthy revamps Packers coaching staff

Mike McCarthy will enter his ninth season as the Green Bay Packers head coach with four new coaches on his staff and five others who will have new and/or different responsibilities.

On Friday, McCarthy announced that he’d hired ex-University of Florida and University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook as assistant special teams coach; ex-Detroit Lions assistant Sam Gash, a two-time All-Pro fullback, as running backs coach; former Western Michigan wide receivers coach Luke Getsy as offensive quality control coach; and former Packers linebacker Chris Gizzi as a strength and conditioning assistant.

In addition, McCarthy shuffled the responsibilities of five other holdover coaches, putting assistant head coach Winston Moss in charge of all linebackers – both inside and outside – after outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene’s departure last month; shifting Alex Van Pelt from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach; promoting Scott McCurley to assistant linebackers coach after four years as a defensive quality control coach; promoting Jason Simmons to a defensive/special teams assistant position after three years as a coaching administrator; and making John Rushing defensive quality control coach after five years in various coaching roles with the club.

“The offseason is progressing with the finalization of adjustments and additions to our coaching staff,” McCarthy said in a statement released by the team’s public-relations department Friday afternoon. “Every day and every decision has the focus on bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay. The evaluation process will continue with a vision to change, adjust or emphasize any aspect of our program to help us reach the attainable goal of another Super Bowl championship.”

The newly hired coaches and coaches whose responsibilities have changed will meet with the media on Monday, the club said.

With the changes, the Packers now have 21 assistants on staff.

The offensive staff of eight coaches includes Tom Clements (offensive coordinator), Van Pelt (quarterbacks), Gash (running backs), Edgar Bennett (wide receivers) Jerry Fontenot (tight ends), James Campen (offensive line), Jay Hilgenberg (assistant offensive line) and Getsy (quality control).

The defensive staff of eight coaches includes Dom Capers (defensive coordinator), Mike Trgovac (defensive line), Moss (linebackers), McCurley (assistant linebackers), Joe Whitt (cornerbacks), Darren Perry (safeties), Simmons (assistant defensive backs) and Rushing (quality control).

The special teams staff includes Shawn Slocum (special teams coordinator) and Zook (assistant special teams) with Simmons also having special teams duties.

The strength and conditioning staff of three includes Mark Lovat (strength and conditioning coordinator) and assistants Thadeus Jackson and Gizzi.

Following their season-ending NFC Wild Card Playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers lost quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, who became the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator; Greene, who said he was quitting to spend more time with his family; and assistant special teams coach Chad Morton, whom the team released.

It’s interesting that the Packers won’t divide up the linebacker coaching duties and instead are having Moss oversee both the inside and outside linebackers. He did so from 2006 through 2008 when the Packers were running a 4-3 defense under former coordinator Bob Sanders, then shifted to inside linebackers when Capers was hired to run the 3-4 and Greene was brought in to coach the outside linebackers.

Van Pelt spent the past two seasons coaching running backs but played quarterback for nine NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and coached the position in Buffalo for two years. He was the quarterbacks coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years before joining McCarthy, who coached him at the University of Pittsburgh.

McCurley has been with the Packers since 2007, having served as the defensive quality control coach for the past five seasons. He spent his first two seasons with the team as coaching administrator.  

Simmons is entering his fourth season with the Packers after serving as a coaching administrator the past three years. In his new position, he will assist with special teams and the defensive backs and work in quality control. He joined the Packers after playing safety for 10 seasons in the NFL, appearing in 121 games (with 12 starts) with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans.

 Rushing is entering his sixth season with the Packers, having served as offensive assistant/special teams the last two years. Before that, he was the offensive quality control coach in 2009 and 2010 and an assistant wide receivers/special teams coach in 2011.

Gash is entering his ninth season as an NFL assistant coach in 2014, having started his coaching career as an assistant running backs coach and assistant special teams coach with the New York Jets in 2005 and 2006 before joining the Lions, who hired him as an assistant special teams coach in 2007 before making him the running backs coach in 2008. He spent five years in that role before then-head coach Jim Schwartz fired him following the 2012 season.

Zook has been out of football since leaving the Fighting Illini, whom he led to the 2008 Rose Bowl. Before coaching the Gators and Illini, he spent six years in the NFL, serving as special teams coach with the Steelers from 1996 through 1998), defensive backs coach with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999 and defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints in 2000 and 2001 before leaving to take the Gators job. In New Orleans, he worked with McCarthy, who was the offensive coordinator under Jim Haslett.

Before coaching wide receivers at Western Michigan last year, Getsy was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and 2012. Getsy also worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. He played two seasons at quarterback from 2005 through 2006 and entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2007 but never saw action.

Gizzi, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, delivered one of the most memorable moments in recent Packers history when ran onto the field carrying the American flag before the team’s Monday Night Football game against Washington in September 2001, 13 days after the 9/11 attacks. He reprised his role in 2011, on the 10-year anniversary, before the Packers’ season-opening game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field.

He spent last season at the University of North Carolina as the Tar Heels’ assistant football strength and conditioning coach. He served as a strength and conditioning intern with the Packers during the offseason and training camp last year.

From 2010 through 2013, Gizzi owned and operated Atlas Performance, a training facility in downtown Chicago. He played linebacker for the Packers for two seasons, appearing in 23 games for the club in 2000 and 2001 after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 1998 and spending the 1998 and 1999 seasons on the Broncos’ reserve/military list while serving in the Air Force..

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