Tony Sparano is in his second year with the Raiders and was named interim head coach on September 30, 2014.
Sparano becomes the team’s 19th head coach and fifth interim head coach in franchise history. Sparano takes over after serving as Oakland’s assistant head coach/offensive line since joining the team in 2013.
Sparano brings 31 years of coaching experience to the job, including 16 at the NFL level and nine combined seasons as a head coach at the college and NFL level.
From 2008-11, Sparano served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, posting an overall record of 29-33 (.475). In 2008, Sparano’s first year as the Dolphins’ head coach, he guided the team to one of the best single-season turnarounds in NFL history, a 10-game improvement over the previous year. Taking over a 1-15 squad from a year earlier, he led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and the AFC East title. Sparano’s 2008 turnaround with the Dolphins rivals that of what Al Davis did when he took over the Raiders as head coach in 1963, posting a 10-4 record after the team had finished 1-13 the previous season.
For his efforts, Sparano was named as 2008 NFL Coach of the Year by the NFL Alumni and the Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America, and AFC Coach of the Year by the Kansas City 101 Committee. He shared USA Today’s Coach of the Year honors with Atlanta’s Mike Smith.
Sparano served as the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets in 2012 prior to joining the Raiders.
With the Cowboys from 2003-07, Sparano served as the team’s tight ends coach from 2003-04, offensive line/running game coordinator in 2005, and assistant head coach/offensive line from 2006-07. During those five years, the Cowboys qualified for the playoffs three times, including 2007 when they won the NFC East with a 13-3 record.
In 2006, with Sparano as the Cowboys’ primary play caller, the team ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense, as they averaged 360.8 yards per game. In addition, their 425 points scored was the fourth-highest total in the NFL. Of the team’s 52 touchdowns on the year, 21 came via the ground, the third-highest figure in the league.
Prior to two one-year stops as a tight ends coach, with the Redskins in 2001 and Jaguars in 2002, Sparano helped launch the expansion Cleveland Browns. In 1999, Cleveland’s first year back in the NFL, Sparano was an offensive quality control coach. He spent 2000 in charge of the Browns’ offensive line.
Sparano made the jump to the NFL after five years as head coach (1994-98) of his alma mater, Division II New Haven, where he compiled a 41-14 record (.745), with four winning campaigns and one .500 season. In that tenure, he also guided the Chargers to a pair of NCAA playoff berths. In 1997, his 12-2 club led the country in scoring offense (42.8 points per contest) and ranked second in scoring defense (11.6) before losing in the national championship.
He spent the previous six seasons (1988-93) at Division I-AA Boston University, coaching the Terriers’ offensive linemen from 1988-89, including Cleveland Browns 1989 draft selection Mike Graybill, before serving as offensive coordinator from 1990-93. In his final season at BU, the 12-1 team won the Yankee Conference and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs.
A native of West Haven, Conn., Sparano and his wife, Jeanette, have three children, sons Tony and Andrew and daughter Ryan Leigh.
Head Coach Tony Sparano spoke to the media after the Raiders returned to the practice field Monday to begin preparations for the St. Louis Rams.
Head Coach Tony Sparano spoke to the media after Monday evening's practice under the lights as the Raiders get ready for a Thursday Night Football match-up with Kansas City.