Jack Del Rio was named the 19th head coach in the 56-year history of the Oakland Raiders franchise on Jan. 15, 2015. The appointment marked a homecoming for Del Rio, who was raised in nearby Hayward, Calif.
Now in his 31st year in the NFL and his 20th season in coaching, Del Rio has played for, coached with, and learned from some of the best coaches in all of football. He was recruited to play at USC by John Robinson, and in the NFL he played under Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Green. As a coach, he honed his skills on the staffs of Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, Super Bowl winner Brian Billick and Super Bowl participant John Fox.
In his first season with the Raiders, Del Rio oversaw significant improvements as the Raiders more than doubled the previous year’s win total. Oakland moved up 15 spots in the NFL rankings in turnover ratio, finishing 17th in the league (+1) after ranking 32nd in 2014 (-15). The team improved in five major statistical categories on offense alone, making gains in total offense, rushing, passing, points per game and third-down efficiency. On defense, the Raiders improved in rushing defense, points per game allowed and third-down defense. Six Raiders were selected for the Pro Bowl, matching a franchise record set in 1994.
Upon taking the reins in Oakland in January 2015, Del Rio embarked on assembling a heralded coaching staff that, collectively, counts seven Super Bowl titles, 62 playoff berths, one Hall of Fame induction and 165 coaching years to its credit.
As defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos from 2012-14, Del Rio was part of three-straight AFC West titles and helped lead Denver to an AFC Championship and appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII following the 2013 campaign. It marked his second stint under Head Coach John Fox, as the two also spent the 2002 season together in Carolina. In all, he has coached 24 players to a total of 33 Pro Bowl selections.
In 2014, Del Rio’s defensive unit boasted five Pro Bowl selections, ranked third in the NFL in overall defense (305.2 yards per game) and second in the league against the run, allowing 79.8 yards per game. With 25 takeaways and a plus-five turnover ratio, Del Rio’s defense was instrumental in leading the Broncos to a third straight 12-win season.
In his second season with the Broncos in 2013, Del Rio’s defense helped Denver to a 12-4 record and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII. Del Rio also accepted the additional role of interim head coach (Weeks 10-13) while Fox underwent a heart procedure, and led the Broncos to a 3-1 record against teams with a combined record of 29-9 (.763). With Del Rio at the helm, Denver beat previously-undefeated Kansas City twice in addition to San Diego, with the team’s only loss coming at New England.
In 2012, Denver’s defense finished as the NFL’s second-ranked unit (290.8 yards per game), after finishing the previous season ranked 20th in the league. The group also tied for the league lead with 52 sacks and allowed the lowest opponent third-down percentage (30.6 percent), while tying for the largest scoring improvement (6.3 points per game) from the previous season.
Prior to joining the Broncos in 2012, Del Rio spent nine seasons at the helm in Jacksonville. During his head coaching tenure (2003 to 2011) with the Jaguars, the club ranked sixth in the NFL in yards per game allowed (317.3) and eighth in points per game allowed (20.3).
Under Del Rio, the Jaguars made two playoff appearances in 2005 and 2007, highlighted by the club’s first postseason win in eight seasons with a 31-29 road victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 2007 AFC Wild Card Game.
In 2009, Del Rio led one of the league’s youngest teams, with four rookies in full-time roles as starters, 32 new players on the roster and a total of 16 rookies by season’s end. The team was in playoff contention until the final weekend of the regular season, finishing 7-9. Rookies combined to make 71 starts, the most in team history, and the team was penalized a league-low of 70 times, the fewest in franchise history. The Jaguars battled through injuries in 2008 to a 5-11 record despite having just four players start all 16 games and a total of 15 players on injured reserve at the end of the year.
The Jaguars posted an 11-5 record in 2007 to earn a second playoff berth in three years, in addition to claiming the franchise’s first playoff win since the 1999 season, while becoming the first team in NFL history to win in Pittsburgh twice in one season. The offense ranked seventh in the league and scored a team-record 411 points. The offense had a team-record seven games with 400-or-more yards, while the defense held opponents to 17 points or less 10 times.
Del Rio led the 2006 Jaguars to a record of 8-8 as the team finished 5-3 against playoff teams and suffered seven losses by seven points or less. Among the highlights was a team-record 2,541 rushing yards and just 30 sacks allowed on offense. The defense registered the highest ranking in team history at second overall.
In 2005, the Jaguars won eight of the last nine regular season games, including four straight on the road, en route to a 12-4 finish and a Wild Card playoff berth. The league’s sixth-ranked defense was sixth in points allowed and had 19 interceptions. On offense, the team increased scoring by 100 points over the previous year and had a team-record and NFL-low six interceptions thrown.
In 2004, Del Rio posted the team’s first winning record since 1999, leading the Jaguars to a 9-7 mark. In taking over the Jaguars in 2003, Del Rio was the architect of a defense that improved to sixth overall in the NFL and second against the run. The Jaguars’ 5-11 record included six losses by seven points or less.
During his lone season as a defensive coordinator with Carolina in 2002, he inherited the NFL’s worst defense statistically (371.4 yards per game allowed) and turned it into the league’s second-ranked unit (290.4 yards per game allowed). Additionally, the 2002 Panthers squad led the NFL in rushing average against (3.7 avg.) and ranked second in third down efficiency (32.9 percent) and sacks (52).
As linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2001, Del Rio tutored a talented group that included Peter Boulware, Ray Lewis and Jamie Sharper. Baltimore’s 2000 team set the NFL 16-game record by allowing only 165 points while recording four shutouts and forcing a league-best 49 turnovers. Lewis was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV that season after a playoff run in which the defense surrendered just one touchdown in four games.
Del Rio began his coaching career with the New Orleans Saints under Head Coach Mike Ditka, serving as an assistant strength coach in 1997 before moving on to coach the linebackers in 1998.
A veteran of 11 seasons as an NFL linebacker, he was selected in the third round (68th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft by New Orleans and went on to make the NFL’s All-Rookie Team and earn the Saints’ Rookie of the Year award.
Following two seasons in New Orleans (1985-86), he played for Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-91) and Minnesota (1992-95). He led the Vikings in tackles for three consecutive years and was selected to participate in the Pro Bowl in 1994. For his career, he played 160 games in the regular season and totaled 1,078 tackles, 12 sacks and 13 interceptions.
Del Rio was a four-year starter at the University of Southern California, where he earned consensus All-American honors as a senior and was runner-up for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s best lineman or linebacker. Named co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl, Del Rio recorded 340 career defensive stops, including 58 tackles for a loss. A standout catcher on the USC baseball team, Del Rio was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in May 2015.
Del Rio was a three-sport star in football, baseball and basketball at Hayward High School in Hayward, Calif. He earned a degree in political science from the University of Kansas while playing for the Chiefs.
Born on April 4, 1963, in Castro Valley, Calif., Del Rio and his wife, Linda, have three daughters, Lauren, Hope and Aubrey, and a son, Luke, who is a quarterback at the University of Florida.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon as the Raiders make final preparations for Saturday's game against the Colts.
Tuesday morning in Phoenix, Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio sat down with the media to talk about some of the team's newest acquisitions.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke with the media at the NFL Combine regarding some recent moves.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio appeared on 95.7 The Game to chat with J.T. the Brick about the offseason.