Now in his 37th year of coaching, Rich Bisaccia enters his third season with the Silver and Black in 2020 and 10th with Head Coach Jon Gruden, having previously spent seven years together in Tampa Bay from 2002-08.
Bisaccia's resume includes 18 seasons of experience as a special teams coordinator in the NFL with the Raiders (2018- 19), Dallas Cowboys (2013-17), San Diego Chargers (2011-12) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-10). Bisaccia, now entering his 19th season as an NFL coach, spent five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys as the special teams coordinator before joining the Raiders in 2018, including the last three with the added role of assistant head coach.
Last season, Bisaccia's special teams excelled in multiple areas, with undrafted rookie standout P AJ Cole highlighting the punting unit. Cole set rookie club records in punting average (46.0 avg.), net average (39.4 avg.) and punts downed inside the 20-yard line (33). Leading the league from Weeks 11-17 with 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, Cole's 33 total for the year are tied third-most in franchise history and ranked fifth in the NFL this past season. Cole also booted a 74-yard punt, the third-longest punt in team history and sixth-longest by a rookie in NFL history. Under Bisaccia, the team's punting average of 46.0 yards per punt finished as the 13th-best figure in the NFL last season, which marked an 18-spot improvement.
The unit also finished eighth in the NFL by holding opponents to an average of just 20.9 yards per kickoff return, a 14-spot improvement from their 22nd-place finish in 2018. Additionally, the Raiders held opponents to an average starting line of 24.1 following kickoffs, the fifth-best mark in the NFL. With Bisaccia's oversight, undrafted rookie CB Keisean Nixon compiled a team-high nine tackles on the unit. Nixon's nine stops are tied for sixth-most by a rookie in team history.
In 2018, Bisaccia fielded a unit that ranked third in punt return average (11.6) and eighth in the NFL in average starting position after kickoffs (25.8-yard line). Standouts on his special teams units were WR/RS Dwayne Harris and rookie K Daniel Carlson. Reunited with Harris from their days together with the Cowboys, Harris took home two AFC Player of the Week Honors for his exceptional performances in Weeks 4 and 16, while Carlson notched one of his own in Week 11.
Under Bisaccia, Harris averaged 14.1 yards per punt return on the season, good for the second-best single-season mark in franchise history and tying for the NFL lead in 2018. Harris also returned a punt for a touchdown, the club's first punt return score since the 2008 campaign. Additionally, Harris finished 10th in the NFL by finishing with a 22.9-yard kickoff return average.
Carlson joined the team ahead of Week 8 and finished his rookie campaign connecting on 16-of-17 field goal attempts for a franchise-record 94.1 field goal percentage. Carlson was one of 25 kickers to attempt at least three field goals from beyond 50 yards, but was one of just two to be true on all attempts. Before Carlson's arrival, K Mike Nugent connected on all six of his field goal attempts before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Additionally, Bisaccia mentored rookie P Johnny Townsend, who punted 70 times in 2018 and grossed an average of 43.2 yards per punt, which at the time marked the third-best in club annals among rookie punters.
In Bisaccia's five seasons with the Cowboys, he helped the team win two NFC East titles (2014 and 2016) and guided a unit that ranked fifth in kickoff return average (24.2) and ranked in the top five in two separate seasons, finishing third in 2017 and fourth in 2013 after inheriting a unit that ranked 29th in 2012. Dallas was successful in the kicking game under Bisaccia's guidance, as K Dan Bailey connected on 87.4 percent of his field goals during that span. He tied for the league lead in field goal percentage in 2015, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Bisaccia also helped LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur earn his first Pro Bowl honor in 2014. The Cowboys owned a net punting average of 40.4 in his five years at the helm of special teams, ranking 10th in the NFL over that span.
In his final season with the Cowboys in 2017, Bisaccia led a unit that pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 34 times, a figure that led the NFL and marked the second-most in franchise history. Bisaccia's squad led the NFL in fewest opponent punt return yards allowed, holding teams to a total of just 75 yards on the year, a mark that ranked as the third-fewest in club history. The unit also ranked in the top five in kickoff return average, finishing third with an average of 24.8. Bailey connected on 15-of-20 field goals while also hitting 26-of-28 extra points. Ladouceur was perfect on all of his snaps and rookie WR/RS Ryan Switzer finished seventh in the NFL with 856 total return yards (600 kickoff return, 256 punt return) and earned first-team All-Rookie honors from the Pro Football Writers of America as a returner.
In 2016, the Cowboys' special teams unit helped the team win the NFC East, as Bailey was true on 27-of-32 field goals (84.4 per- cent) and all 46 extra point attempts for 127 total points to tie for eighth amongst league kickers. Bailey also became the club's all-time leader in field goals made after he surpassed K Rafael Septien (162) during the 10th game of the season. Bisaccia's 2015 unit was highlighted with a Pro Bowl season by Bailey. Bailey connected on 30-of-32 field goals to tie the highest percentage in the NFL (career-high 93.8 percent), while also hitting all 25 extra points as he was rewarded with his first ever trip to the NFL's annual all-star game.
In 2014, Bailey finished the year 25-of-29 with a career field goal percentage of 89.8 and also hit a career-high 56 extra points. Harris led all coverage men with 18 tackles and Ladouceur, who was perfect on every snap for the 10th straight season, earned his first career trip to the Pro Bowl. In his first season in charge of the Cowboys' special teams, Bisaccia's impact was immediate in the return game, as he upgraded the squad's NFL kickoff return average ranking from 29th (20.6 yards per return) in 2012 to fourth (25.5) in 2013. In particular, Harris' 30.6-yard kickoff return average was second in the league, while his punt return average of 12.8 yards per return ranked third in the NFL. In the kicking game, Bisaccia's work with Bailey helped him finish the season 28-of-30 on field goals (93.3 percent). Bailey also set a new single-season club record for field goals of 50-or-more yards with six in 2013.
Before joining the Cowboys, Bisaccia spent two seasons in San Diego with the Chargers as the special teams coordinator in 2011 before adding assistant head coach duties in 2012. Bisaccia guided his unit to an immediate improvement in punting during his first season, as the Chargers went from last in the league in net average (28.7 net yards per punt) in 2010 to 10th in 2011 with a net average of 39.7. During Bisaccia's two years in San Diego, the Chargers ranked sixth in punting average (46.9) over that span. P Mike Scifres had an outstanding year in 2011, averaging a career-best 47.5 yards per punt. Additionally, WR/RS Richard Goodman recorded a kick return average of 27.5 yards per return after logging 34 returns for 936 yards and one touchdown. His 27.5-yard average still ranks second in Chargers single-season history and ranked fourth in the NFL that year.
Bisaccia entered the NFL coaching ranks as a special teams coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. From 2002-10, Bisaccia served in various roles on the Buccaneers coaching staff, working for Gruden for the first seven years of his stint in Tampa Bay. Bisaccia was the special teams coordinator from 2002-07 and he added the responsibility of associate head coach and running backs in 2008 before spending 2009-10 as the associate head coach/special teams coordinator.
During his time with the Buccaneers, Bisaccia oversaw one of the best special teams units in the NFL. He helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl XXXVII in his first season as an NFL coach and guided three players to Pro Bowl honors (P Josh Bidwell, LS Dave Moore and KR Clifton Smith) in addition to 13 NFC Player of the Week awards and four NFC Player of the Month awards. Bisaccia's units scored eight return touchdowns with four on kickoff returns and four on punt returns. He also saw his group block 18 kicks – 10 field goal attempts, five punts and three extra points – during his time in Tampa Bay, with a league-leading six blocked kicks in 2009. In his nine seasons from 2002-10 with Tampa Bay, the special teams unit ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in several categories, including opponent kickoff return average (sixth, 21.0 yards per return), fewest kickoff and punt returns surrendered for touchdowns (tied for fourth, five touchdowns surrendered), kickoff return average (fourth, 23.0 yards per return), team gross punting average (10th, 43.0) and punts placed inside the 20-yard line (seventh, 229).
In 2009, the Buccaneers led the NFL in kickoff return average (26.3 yards per return) while ranking second in the league in opponent kickoff return average (19.1 yards per return). The Buccaneers' six blocked kicks on the season led the NFL and were the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. Bisaccia's unit also accounted for three return touchdowns. The 2008 season was highlighted by rookie return man Clifton Smith, as he became the first Buccaneer selected to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner and earned second-team All-Pro honors. Bisaccia also oversaw the running backs corps in 2008, helping RB Warrick Dunn finish the season with 786 yards on 186 carries (4.2 avg.). Dunn also became just the sixth player in NFL history to record 10,000 rushing yards and 500 receptions in his career during the 2008 campaign.
Under the direction of Bisaccia in 2007, the Buccaneers ranked 12th in the NFL in kickoff return average (23.3 yards per return), seventh in punt return coverage (7.4 yards per return) and second in kickoff return coverage (19.5 yards per return). K Matt Bryant had a then career-high 118 points, sixth in the NFC and tied for 10th in the NFL, ranking third in Buccaneers history for points in a single season. WR Mark Jones also set a then-Buccaneers single-season record for kickoff return average (28.6 yards per return) in 2007. The Buccaneers' kickoff coverage unit excelled in 2006, ranking first in the NFL in lowest opponent kickoff return average (18.4 yards per return). For the second consecutive season, a member of Bisaccia's unit was sent to the Pro Bowl in LS Dave Moore.
In his second year with the Buccaneers under Bisaccia in 2005, P Josh Bidwell was named to his first Pro Bowl and earned second-team Associated Press All-Pro honors while ranking third in the NFL and first in the NFC with a career-best 45.6-yard gross punting average. Bidwell placed 23 punts inside the 20-yard line in 2005, then the second-highest total of his career, to rank fifth in the NFC. Bisaccia's unit challenged several team and individual records in 2004, including best kickoff return average (24.2 yards per return), most kickoff return yardage (1,450) and most punts inside the 20-yard line (23).
The Buccaneers special teams enjoyed success throughout the 2002 season and proved vital in the franchise's first Super Bowl title. Buccaneers career scoring leader, K Martin Gramatica, hit on 32-of-39 (82.1 percent) field goal attempts in 2002, including 5-of-6 from 50-or-more yards, while also hitting all 32 of his extra points. Gramatica tied for the NFC lead with a career-high 32 field goals, while his 39 field goal attempts and 128 points in 2002 were new club single-season records.
Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Bisaccia spent 19 seasons coaching at the collegiate level. From 1999-2001, he coached at Mississippi, serving as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator, adding the role of assistant head coach for his last two seasons. He mentored All-SEC performers RB Deuce McAllister, RB Joe Gunn and K Les Binkley during his tenure. Ole Miss also excelled on special teams under Bisaccia, with Binkley setting a single-season scoring mark for a kicker. In 2001, the unit led the conference and ranked 12th in the nation in kickoff returns with a 24.4-yard average. McAllister, who was chosen in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, established 18 school records in his career. He ended his career with a team-record 3,060 rushing yards and was named all-conference in both 1999 and 2000.
Bisaccia spent five seasons (1994-1998) as the running backs coach, special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Clemson. Under his tutelage, the Tigers set a school record with eight blocked kicks in 1997. Over the three-year period from 1995-1997, Clemson had 15 blocked kicks, the most-ever for a three-year span in school history.
Bisaccia spent six seasons at South Carolina from 1988- 93, beginning as a graduate assistant for tight ends and wide receivers in 1988. After one season in the graduate assistant role, he was a volunteer assistant for the school for three seasons, first working with defensive ends and special teams (1989-90) followed by tight ends and special teams (1991), while finishing his final two seasons (1992-93) in the role of running backs/special teams coordinator.
Bisaccia began his coaching career in 1983 at Wayne State College (Nebraska), coaching defensive backs and special teams. He switched to the offensive side of the ball in 1984, tutoring quarterbacks and wide receivers for the next four seasons (1984-87).
PERSONAL: Native of Yonkers, N.Y. ...Graduated from New Fairfield High School in Connecticut...Attended Yankton College in South Dakota from 1979-1982 and was a four-year starter at defensive back...Served as team captain in 1982 and earned All-South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference honors in 1981 and 1982...Was a free agent signee with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 1983...Received a bachelor of science degree in physical education from Wayne State (Neb.)...He and his wife, Jeanne, have three daughters, Michele, Elizabeth and Maddie, a son, Richie, and five grandchildren, Joel, AnnaJean, Cash, Everett and Ace.