JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When Doug Marrone wanted to get his coaching career started, one of the first people he reached out to was Tom Coughlin. On Thursday Marrone was introduced as the Jaguars head coach and Coughlin as the Executive VP of football operations. Nearly 25 years ago Marrone called Coughlin, who was then the head coach at Boston College, to ask him if he could have a graduate assistant position.
Throughout the years the two stayed in touch and Marrone called getting a chance to work under Coughlin "the perfect situation.”
“He’s been a mentor to me,” said Marrone. “At the end of the day that’s what he’s been. He’s been someone that if I had an issue in Buffalo in dealing with something. Or if I had an issue at Syracuse, he’s the gentleman that I would call.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said that Coughlin wasn’t directed involved in the search for a new head coach. He was also unaware of the close relationship between Marrone and Coughlin.
“Maybe it’s in front of you but I didn’t quite make the connection until Tom [Coughlin] told me,” said Khan. “I spoke to Doug [Marrone] independently a little bit after that and then he told me. So I frankly didn’t realize all the things they have in common. You have to have the right people with the right values for this thing to work.”
The Jaguars power structure now consists of Khan as the owner, Coughlin as VP of football operations, Dave Caldwell as general manager and Marrone as head coach. For Coughlin, having a previous relationship with Marrone will make that transition easier.
“I was well aware of a Doug [Marrone] as a player as well as very aware of him as he got into coaching,” said Coughlin. “When Doug became the head coach at Syracuse we began to talk more often. He would come and visit me in New York and we remained in touch that way. We talked when he was the head coach in Buffalo and we played against each other in the Hall of Fame game. Our knowledge of each other is extensive.”
Coughlin is the most successful coach in the history of the Jaguars franchise. During Thursday’s press conference he made it clear that he was done with coaching and explained that this is the role he wanted all along.
"I have a vested interest in the historical presence and success of the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said Coughlin. “I believe our great fans deserve a team they can be proud of. Will this be easy? Of course, not. If it was easy, anybody could do it. But I'm excited by this opportunity and this great challenge."