ALAMEDA, Calif. – John Pagano has been named Assistant Head Coach – Defense of the Oakland Raiders, the club announced Monday. Pagano will be entering his 22nd season as an NFL coach, having spent the previous 15 years with the San Diego Chargers, including the last five as defensive coordinator. Pagano and Head Coach Jack Del Rio previously worked together in 1997 with the New Orleans Saints.
From 2012-16, Pagano served as the Chargers' defensive coordinator, helping the team to an appearance in the Divisional Round in 2013. Over those five seasons, Pagano's defense ranked 13th in the NFL in total net yards per game allowed (348.1). Last season, the Chargers' defense tied for the NFL lead with 18 interceptions – led by Pro Bowl CB Casey Hayward's seven – despite finishing the year with 11 defensive players on the Reserve/Injured List. Pagano also mentored rookie first-round pick DE Joey Bosa, who was named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team.
In 2014, the Chargers ranked ninth in the NFL in total defense and fourth in pass defense, marking the second time in Pagano's first three years as defensive coordinator that the team ranked in the top 10 in total defense. The defense also posted one shutout on the year and held three different opponents to 10 points or less.
In the team's run to the Divisional Round in 2013, the Chargers recorded 16 takeaways in their last eight games (two playoff games included) and won four of their final five regular season contests to earn a playoff berth. In December, the Chargers surrendered just 315.8 yards per game (sixth in the NFL) and 17.6 points per game (third in the NFL).
In Pagano's first season as defensive coordinator in 2012, his defensive unit ranked ninth in total defense and sixth in run defense. The team recorded 38 sacks on the year and scored seven defensive touchdowns, second most in the NFL.
Pagano originally joined the Chargers in 2002 as the team's quality control coach for the defense before moving up the ranks. He began as an assistant linebackers coach before moving to outside linebackers and then ultimately to linebackers coach before becoming the team's defensive coordinator in 2012. In 2010, the Chargers had the NFL's number one ranked defense (271.6 yards per game) and the unit was tied for second in the league in sacks (47).
Pagano worked with the team's linebackers from 2005-11, helping tutor three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the NFL's sack leader in 2006.
A native of Boulder, Colo., Pagano was an all-state linebacker at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colo., before moving on to play at Mesa State from 1985-88. John's older brother, Chuck, who was an assistant coach with the Raiders from 2005-06, is currently the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Both John and Chuck played for their father, Sam, at Fairview High, where Sam spent 26 years as the head coach at Fairview, winning three state titles.
John Pagano's Coaching Background
|Years||College/Pro Team||Position Coached|
|1989||Mesa State College||Assistant Coach|
|1990-91||University of Nevada - Las Vegas||Graduate Assistant|
|1992-93||Overland High School (Aurora, Colo.)||Assistant Coach|
|1994||Louisiana Tech||Graduate Assistant|
|1995||University of Mississippi||Graduate Assistant|
|1996-97||New Orleans Saints||Defensive Assistant|
|1998-2001||Indianapolis Colts||Defensive Assistant|
|2002-04||San Diego Chargers||Defensive Assistant - Quality Control|
|2005-06||San Diego Chargers||Assistant Linebackers - Quality Control|
|2007-08||San Diego Chargers||Outside Linebackers|
|2009-11||San Diego Chargers||Linebackers|
|2012-16||San Diego Chargers||Defensive Coordinator|