The New Orleans Saints completed another piece of their offseason puzzle, reportedly adding former Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole to the coaching staff as the team's new defensive secondary coach.
James Varney reported it Thursday afternoon on the nola.com, and thanks to both HRP-SAINT for bringing it to CSC first in a fanshot, and then David "Satch" Kelly for dropping it on the front page when he saw the news that day, oh boy.
It's the second consecutive hire that has been reported only by "league sources" and with no big fanfare/official announcement from the team itself. Just all of a sudden the new guy's in place and getting down to business...I wonder if this is a new strategy by the Saints to gain a competitive edge over other teams who waste time with "public announcements" and "press conferences" and the like. I hope it works.
Make the jump for my comprehensive bio on Ken Flajole.
My first thought when I read about this hire was, "Great! Now we have another coach who needs to bring his own pronunciation guide so we can say his name correctly." FLAY-jole? flay-JOLE? FLAH-hole-ay? Flay-jole-AY? If I ever meet him, I think I'll just call him "Coach" and save myself the stress. The Rams media guide says it's (FLAY-juhl), so start practicing.
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Sources for this story include: the Rams media guide, a 1999 story from the alumni magazine of Flajole's alma mater, Pacific Lutheran, Flajole's wiki page, a 2009 AP story retrieved from usatoday.com, and Varney's nola.com bit I linked to above.
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Born in Seattle, Washington, Flajole played linebacker with distinction at Wenatchee Valley Community College (Go Knights! But, alas, they no longer have a football program...) in central Washington, as well as at Pacific Lutheran University (Go Lutes!!!), earning all-conference honors at both schools. He graduated PLU with a bachelor's degree in education in 1976, and began his coaching career with the Lutes in 1977. (Our friends at urbandictionary.com helped me understand more about just what a Lute is.)
From 1977 - 1997, he cut his coaching teeth at the collegiate level, also coaching at Washington, Montana, Texas-El Paso, Missouri, Richmond, Hawaii, and Nevada. In his final year at Nevada, where he served as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, the team finished first in the conference in total, scoring, and passing defense.
Flajole broke into the NFL as a defensive assistant with Mike Holmgren and the Green Bay Packers in 1998, and then followed him to the Seattle Seahawks, where he stayed from 1999-2002, coaching both defensive backs and linebackers.
In 2003, he joined the Carolina Panthers as linebackers coach, and worked that gig for six seasons, until 2008. While with the Panthers, he received credit for guiding the development of star LB Jon Beason, who earned Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors while playing under Flajole in 2007 and 2008.
Steve Spagnuolo brought him to St. Louis to be defensive coordinator from 2009-2011, and it didn't take long for Flajole to rejoin him with the Saints once they left the Rams in January 2012. (Side note: Spagnuolo and Flajole became friends during Flajole's time at UTEP in 1986-88, and they both coached under Andy Reid.)
Flajole, 58, has a wife, Teri, and two daughters, Kelly, and Kori. I couldn't find anything on whether or not they have any pets.
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And those are the goods on the apparent new secondary coach of the Saints, Ken Flajole. What do you think of the hire now? Anything there excite you? scare you? Let's discuss...