Young coaches’ suc­cess rates mixed

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - Paul Dehner Jr.

The Ben­gals are set to make one of the youngest hires in the his­tory of the NFL in Rams quar­ter­backs coach Zac Tay­lor. They hope to catch the wave of po­ten­tial in the 35-year-old and ride it to the next gen­er­a­tion of teams.

The propo­si­tion is risky, to be sure, though the rest of the NFL is go­ing along the same lines with young, offen­sive minded coaches pop­ping up around the league this hir­ing cy­cle. Kliff Kings­bury (Ari­zona) and Matt LaFleur (Green Bay) are 39. They fol­low along with Tay­lor in the lin­eage of the youngest coach in NFL his­tory, the Rams’ Sean McVay.

When as­sess­ing the his­tory of hir­ing young coaches, you’ll find the boom-or­bust can­di­date is a defini­tive re­al­ity. The suc­cess sto­ries have defined fran­chises. The fail­ures set them back years. There’s al­most no in-be­tween.

Let’s take a look at the youngest coaches hired in the Su­per Bowl era.

Boom

Sean McVay, Rams

Age at hir­ing: 30 years, 11 months Record: 24-8, back-to-back play­off ap­pear­ances

What hap­pened: Every­one wants a piece of McVay’s friends af­ter two years of lead­ing the change as a face of the next gen­er­a­tion of the NFL.

Jon Gru­den, Raiders

Age at hir­ing: 34 years, 5 months Record: 42-38, 2-2 in post­sea­son What hap­pened: Started slow with back-to-back 8-8 sea­sons, then caught fire, rip­ping off a 22-10 record over his final two years, stunned by the Tuck Rule dur­ing his best sea­son. Went on to win a Su­per Bowl with the Buc­ca­neers in 2002, his first year af­ter leav­ing Oak­land.

Bill Cowher, Steel­ers

Age at hir­ing: 34 years, 8 months Record: 149-90-1, two Su­per Bowls ap­pear­ances, one ti­tle

What hap­pened: Spent 15 years with the Steel­ers, win­ning dou­ble-digit games in five of his first six years. Cap­tured Su­per Bowl XL in 2006.

Mike Tom­lin, Steel­ers

Age at hir­ing: 34 years, 10 months

Record: 125-66, 8-7 in play­offs, two Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ances, one ti­tle

What hap­pened: Tom­lin picked up the Cowher torch and ran with it, win­ning the Su­per Bowl in his se­cond sea­son and ad­vanc­ing to the big game in his fourth. Cur­rently in a run of five con­sec­u­tive win­ning sea­sons.

Bust

Lane Kiffin, Raiders

Age at hir­ing: 31 years, 8 months Record: 5-15

What hap­pened: Made it four games into his se­cond sea­son be­fore the house came crum­bling down. Ra­heem Mor­ris, Bucs

Age at hir­ing: 32 years, 4 months Record: 17-31, no play­offs What hap­pened: Did man­age a 10-6 sea­son in his se­cond year, but sand­wiched by dis­as­trous sea­son, in­clud­ing a 4-12 cam­paign his final sea­son when Tampa Bay gave up the most points in the league.

David Shula, Ben­gals

Age at hir­ing: 32 years, 7 months Record: 19-52

What hap­pened: Ben­gals’ fans don’t want to re­hash these mem­o­ries. Shula was the fastest to 50 losses in NFL his­tory.

Josh McDaniels, Bron­cos

Age at hir­ing: 32 years, 8 months Record: 11-17

What hap­pened: Went 8-8 his first year but then was booted 13 games into his se­cond sea­son when Den­ver went 3-9 amid per­son­al­ity is­sues.

Eric Mangini, Jets

Age at hir­ing: 34 years, 11 months Record: 23-25, one play­off ap­pear­ance

What hap­pened: The clos­est thing to a mid­dle-of-the-road ten­ure. Went 10-6 and lost in the play­offs in his first sea­son (2006), then even­tu­ally was let go af­ter three years, land­ing in Cleve­land for back-to-back 5-11 cam­paigns. Mike Shana­han, Raiders

Age at hir­ing: 35 years, 6 months Record: 8-12

What hap­pened: Shana­han was let go four games into his se­cond sea­son in 1989 as Art Shell took over. He would go on to suc­cess with the Bron­cos, in­clud­ing back-to-back ti­tles at age 45 and 46, but his first stint was rough.

KIRBY LEE/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Rams coach Sean McVay was 30 when he was hired as head coach.

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