1 minute read

Marvin Lewis

Hired As Assistant Coach

Coaching Idaho State's linebackers in his first year, Lewis got a taste of the satisfaction the profession could bring when the Idaho State Bengals notched a 12-1 record and won the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division 1-AA championship. He stayed on as an assistant coach at Idaho State through 1984 (having earned a master's degree in athletic administration in 1982) and then moved on to assistant coach posts at Long Beach State University in California (1985-86), the University of New Mexico (1987-89), and the University of Pittsburgh (1990-91).

That powerhouse coaching job in his home area put Lewis within reach of a pro coaching slot, and in 1992 he was hired as a linebackers coach by the Pittsburgh Steelers. His Steelers squads from 1992 to 1995 spawned several NFL defensive stars, and in 1996 he was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as defensive coordinator even though head coach Brian Billick originally wanted someone else for the position. Once again Lewis proved himself; the Ravens' defense steadily improved, and the defensive team on the 2000 squad, which won the Super Bowl, set a record for fewest points allowed (165) in a 16-game season and is considered one of the best in NFL history. In 2002 Lewis became defensive coordinator and assistant head coach with the Washington Redskins.

Although NFL teams had interviewed Lewis for head coaching jobs several times, he had been passed over. The biggest heartbreaker came in 2002, when Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay offered the team's head coach slot to Lewis but was overruled by the team's owners. Discouraged, Lewis nevertheless turned down a $7.5 million offer to coach football at Michigan State University in order to keep pursuing his goal. Finally he was hired in 2003 for $1.5 million a year to coach the Cincinnati Bengals, which in 2002 had amassed a dismal record of 2 wins and 14 losses, worst in the history of the franchise. The team's last winning record had come in 1990.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: C(hristopher) J(ohn) Koch Biography - C.J. Koch comments: to Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard Lovell (1913– ) BiographyMarvin Lewis Biography - Became Senior Class President, Hired As Assistant Coach, Took Visible Role In Cincinnati