Longtime coordinator Dick LeBeau joins Titans as assistant head coach
The Tennessee Titans have hired Dick LeBeau as their assistant head coach in charge of defense, pairing the Hall of Fame player and veteran coach with Ray Horton.
The Titans announced the hiring Thursday. Mike Mularkey also has been promoted to assistant head coach in addition to coaching tight ends, and Jason Tucker has been hired as an assistant wide receivers coach.
Both Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and his defensive coordinator Horton worked with LeBeau in Pittsburgh with four other Titans assistants either having coached with or played for LeBeau. The veteran coach has 18 seasons of experience with Horton and three with Whisenhunt, and they need help for a team that went 2-14 in in their first season in Tennessee.
''This is a unique opportunity to add someone like Dick to our coaching staff,'' Whisenhunt said in a statement. ''He is a proven commodity in this league and great teacher. One of his greatest assets is the rare ability to relate to all different kinds of players and get the most of them. We had a lot of success together in Pittsburgh and I am looking forward to working together again.''
LeBeau, 77, resigned as defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh last month after the Steelers finished 18th in total defense, the lowest in his second stint with the team.
In Tennessee, he'll work to improve a unit that finished 27th in total defense and gave up 27.4 points per game - ahead of only Chicago and Oakland.
He was with Pittsburgh for 16 seasons, 13 of those as defensive coordinator with stints from 1995-96 and from 2004-14. With him as defensive coordinator, the Steelers finished in the top five in total defense 11 times and five times as the top overall ranked defense as Pittsburgh won seven division titles, four AFC championships and two Super Bowls.
LeBeau has spent 56 years in the NFL, including 14 as a defensive back for the Detroit Lions and two coaching stints with the Steelers, sandwiched around a head coaching job with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
As a player, LeBeau had 62 interceptions in 14 seasons as defensive back for the Detroit Lions from 1959-72. He played halfback and cornerback for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. LeBeau was 12-33 as Cincinnati's head coach from 2000-02. He began his coaching career with Philadelphia in 1973. He also was an assistant with Green Bay, Cincinnati and Buffalo.
Mularkey's new job title means he will be more involved with the offense, specifically the run game. Tucker spent the past six seasons coaching wide receivers in the Canadian Football League. He played with the Dallas Cowboys and spent seven years playing in the CFL with Edmonton.