Well, in another sign of the sadly commencing 2012 Saints offseason, I bring you this installment of Beyond The Visor, the ongoing series that educates, informs, and entertains you with historical, biographical, and geographical information about the coaching, training, and administrative staff of your New Orleans Saints.
Today we focus on what is definitely the most significant "new hire" of the year for the Saints, that of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who comes to New Orleans fresh off a poop-canning following a three-year stint as head coach of the St. Louis Rams, in which the team won only 10 games.
Make the jump to learn more about Our Man Spags, or Spag-NOLA as he's been fondly monikered by some.
Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo was born in Northbridge, MA, on December 21, 1959, and is married to Maria (here's a 2011 story about her volunteer work in St. Louis). He graduated from Grafton High and was a wide receiver for the Pride of Springfield College, which is the school known as the Birthplace of Basketball.
Spagnuolo was a graduate assistant with the football team at UMass from 1981-82 while getting his graduate degree, and interned with the Washington Redskins in 1983, working in the player personnel department.
Following a three-year gig as Lafayette College's defensive line and special teams coach, he then spent 1987-91 with the Huskies of UConn, as defensive backs coach and also defensive coordinator.
Spagnuolo took it across the pond to Spain in 1992, coaching the D-line and special teams for the Barcelona Dragons of the short-lived World League of American Football, before returning to the states to be a Black Bear coach for the University of Maine from 1993-94. In these two seasons, he was in charge of the defensive backs and then coordinated the entire D while also running the LB corps.
From 1994-97, he coached defensive backs for Rutgers and Bowling Green Universities and then spent another year in the WLAF, this time coordinating the defense and coaching the linebackers for the Frankfurt Galaxy. (Join the WLAF: See The World!!!)
The wandering Spagnuolo then settled down in Philly for the next eight years, first as a defensive assistant, then as defensive backs, and finally linebackers coach for the Eagles.
The New York Football Giants snatched him up to be their defensive coordinator from 2007-08, where he won a Super Bowl over the undefeated New England Patriots with a masterful defensive plan and excellent player execution (although he had next to nothing to do with Tyree's catch).
From 2009-11, Spagnuolo head coached the St. Louis Rams, taking them to the brink of an NFC West title in 2010, before suffering a 2-14 2011 season filled with injuries, from which he could not ultimately recover.
He learned under DC Jim Johnson of the Eagles in his eight years there, and his scheme has been described as an aggressive and blitz-heavy base 4-3, with the use of corner and safety blitzes (sound familiar?).
Here's hoping he does more then GW was able to do with the chicken s*** salad that is the Saints defense. Time will tell.
And here's something I'm wondering: will he coordinate from the sidelines, or the booth? And will it matter?
(This story was sourced mightily from the Steve Spagnuolo wikipedia page.)