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Steve Julio Spagnuolo (born December 21, 1959) is the current defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. He was previously the head coach of the St. Louis Rams from January 2009 to January 2012. He was also defensive coordinator of the New York Giants from January 2007 to January 2009, and also served for eight years under defensive coordinator Jim Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early years[]

Born in the Whitinsville section of Northbridge, MA, Spagnuolo moved to Grafton as a youth. After graduating from Grafton (MA) High School, Spagnuolo played wide receiver at Springfield College. He assisted the University of Massachusetts football team while pursuing his graduate degree. [1]

Coaching career[]

Spagnuolo began his NFL coaching career in the Philadelphia Eagles organization in 1999, serving as linebackers and defensive backs coach. He remained there for eight years, learning Jim Johnson's defensive philosophy. It was under Johnson that Spagnuolo cultivated his trademark look, goatee and buzz cut.

In January 2007, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, under Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

He spent two years in New York, and was the architect of the aggressive defensive strategy against the New England Patriots (the highest scoring offensive team in NFL history) in Super Bowl XLII, which was instrumental in the close victory by the Giants. Following the Super Bowl win and a great deal of praise, Spagnuolo's name was widely circulated for open head coach positions around the NFL.

On February 7, 2008, he took his name out of consideration for the head coaching position of the Washington Redskins, citing the fact that he did not feel ready to be a head coach. People speculated that he did not like the fact that the coordinators were already installed, but he stated he had no problems with them. The same day, the New York Giants made Spagnuolo one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the NFL with a new three-year contract, worth roughly $2 million a year.[2]

St. Louis Rams[]

Following another successful season in 2008, most notably the upset Super Bowl XLII victory over the previously undefeated (18-0) New England Patriots, Spagnuolo's name came up as a replacement for numerous head coaching vacancies once again, including those for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Detroit Lions, but Spagnuolo decided to join with the St. Louis Rams, taking over their head coaching vacancy with a 4-year, $11.5 million contract.[3][4] Spagnuolo hired Pat Shurmur and Ken Flajole to be the Rams' offensive and defensive coordinators respectively. Spagnuolo then hired Josh McDaniels to be the team's offensive coordinator to replace Shurmur, who left for the Browns' head coaching job.

Spagnuolo was fired on January 2, 2012 after finishing the season 2-14, tied with the Indianapolis Colts with the worst record in the league. Spagnuolo had a 10-38 overall record in his three seasons in St. Louis.[5]

New Orleans Saints[]

On January 19, 2012, Spagnuolo agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints to become the new defensive coordinator.[6]

Coaching philosophy[]

Spagnuolo learned under Philadelphia coach Jim Johnson, and shares the same aggressive, blitz-heavy approach as his mentor. Spagnuolo uses a 4–3 base defense with a heavy emphasis on multiple blitz packages, including corner and safety blitzes. While defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, he often used a smaller defensive line, with three or even four defensive ends to further pressure the quarterback.

This philosophy proved successful, with the Giants leading the NFL in sacks in 2007. During Super Bowl XLII, Spagnuolo's defense sacked Tom Brady five times, the most times he had been sacked in any game that season.

Head coaching record[]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
STL 2009 1 15 0 .067 4th in NFC West
STL 2010 7 9 0 .438 2nd in NFC West
STL 2011 2 14 0 .133 4th in NFC West
Total[7] 10 38 0 .213

Coaching tree[]

NFL head coaches under whom Steve Spagnuolo has served:

Assistant coaches under Steve Spagnuolo who became NFL head coaches:


  1. Powers, John. "Spagnuolo has brought Giants' defense a long way", Boston Globe, February 3, 2008. 
  2. Branch, John. "Spagnuolo’s Decision to Stay With Giants Is Rewarded", New York Times, February 8, 2008. 
  3. "St. Louis Rams pick Steve Spagnuolo as coach", ESPN, January 17, 2009. 
  4. Thomas, Jim. "Rams fire Spagnuolo, Devaney", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 2, 2012. Retrieved on 2012-01-20. 
  5. "Rams, Bucs ax coaches; Colts ax VP, GM", Fox Sports, January 3, 2012. Retrieved on 2012-01-20. 
  6. Yasinskas, Pat. "Sources: Steve Spagnuolo to join Saints", 19 January 2012. Retrieved on 19 January 2012. 
  7. Steve Spagnuolo. Pro Football (2009). Retrieved on 2010-10-19.