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Rex Ryan
Head Coach

COACHING CAREER

Entering his sixth season, Rex Ryan trails only Weeb Ewbank (11) and Joe Walton (7) for most seasons a   Jets head coach. “I’ll say this: I love being the head coach of the New York Jets. Plain and simple,” Ryan remarked after the season. His 42 regular season wins rank as the third most in team history, behind Ewbank (71) and Walton (53). His .525 winning percentage stands as the second-best for a Jets head coach, trailing only the .595 winning percentage of Bill Parcells in his three seasons at the Jets helm.

For the second time since Ryan became head coach in 2009, the Jets started a rookie at quarterback, making Ryan the only head coach in the Super Bowl era to start a rookie quarterback in at least 10 games in two of his first five seasons in the league. Ryan’s success with Mark Sanchez (2009) and GENO SMITH (2013) made him the only head coach in the Super Bowl era to win eight-or-more games with a rookie quarterback in two different seasons.

COACHING CAREER

Entering his sixth season, Rex Ryan trails only Weeb Ewbank (11) and Joe Walton (7) for most seasons a   Jets head coach. “I’ll say this: I love being the head coach of the New York Jets. Plain and simple,” Ryan remarked after the season. His 42 regular season wins rank as the third most in team history, behind Ewbank (71) and Walton (53). His .525 winning percentage stands as the second-best for a Jets head coach, trailing only the .595 winning percentage of Bill Parcells in his three seasons at the Jets helm.

For the second time since Ryan became head coach in 2009, the Jets started a rookie at quarterback, making Ryan the only head coach in the Super Bowl era to start a rookie quarterback in at least 10 games in two of his first five seasons in the league. Ryan’s success with Mark Sanchez (2009) and GENO SMITH (2013) made him the only head coach in the Super Bowl era to win eight-or-more games with a rookie quarterback in two different seasons.

Consistently a stout pass defense, Ryan entered last season looking to sure up the team’s 26th-ranked run defense. The Jets finished the season third in the NFL in rushing defense (1,412 yards allowed) while finishing first in opponents’ per carry average (3.4), a season after allowing 2,138 yards and 4.3 yards per carry. The defense also produced 41 sacks, the most by a Ryan-led defense since his 2006 Ravens had 60 and the most by a Jets defense since it also produced 41 in 2008. Pacing the team were career-best performances from third-year rising star defensive lineman MUHAMMAD WILKERSON (10.5) and resurgent linebacker CALVIN PACE (10.0), who became the first pair of Jets defenders to both produce double-digit sacks since Joe Klecko (20.5) and Mark Gastineau (20) accomplished the feat in 1981.

Despite his accomplishments on the field, perhaps what truly defines Ryan is his passion, passion that was noticed and appreciated by Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson. “Rex has more passion than anyone I have ever met,” Johnson said after announcing Ryan’s return for the 2014 season. “Passion for the Jets. Passion for teaching and motivating his players and coaches. Passion for winning. Like any NFL head coach, he’s had ups and downs, but Rex has been a tremendous leader of this football team.”

Despite only one losing year in his five as head coach, Ryan has missed the postseason the last three. Finishing the 2013 campaign 3-1 gives the team confidence moving forward, but Ryan realizes this is a results league. “I don’t like the fact we haven’t been to the playoffs for three straight years. That’s a huge thorn in my side and everybody else’s.”

The Idzik-Ryan pairing came together last year when Idzik was brought in as the new general manager and Ryan was retained as head coach. Despite the perceived differences, the two sons of former New York Jets coaches focused on their passion for the Jets, talking football strategies and beliefs, realizing that their pairing could bring success to the organization.

“He just makes it fun,” Idzik said about Ryan. “He’s very thorough. He’s a phenomenal teacher (and) motivator. He’s a great listener and he’s a heck of a football coach. I’ve learned that every day I spend with him. We’re very fortunate to have Rex as our coach and I’m fortunate to be working alongside of him.”

2013 featured three new coordinators, Dennis Thurman leading the defense, Marty Mornhinweg directing the offense and Ben Kotwica commanding the special teams. On the offensive side, Mornhinweg oversaw the development of second-round pick SMITH, who finished the year with 3,046 passing yards, making him the first quarterback in Jets history and 13th in NFL history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in his rookie season. The total also placed him fourth among rookies drafted in the second round or later in passing yards during their rookie season.

Defensively, Thurman, Ryan’s long-time defensive backs coach, helped to integrate seven new starters on defense, including first-round picks cornerback DEE MILLINER and defensive tackle SHELDON RICHARDSON, both of whom earned Defensive Rookie of the Month honors, with RICHARDSON earning the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Taking over on special teams for Kotwica this season is Thomas McGaughey, a former Super Bowl winning assistant coach who has also coached in the BCS National Championship Game. During his time in Death Valley, he helped LSU’s special teams register seven touchdowns, while coaching future NFL Draft choices Odell Beckham, Jr., Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. Both Beckham, Jr. and Mathieu earned All-America honors as returners, while Brad Wing received the recognition as a punter.

Before becoming the head coach of the Jets, Ryan spent 10 seasons (1999-2008) with the Ravens. During that time, the Ravens ranked first in the NFL in fewest points allowed (17.1 points per game), fewest rushing yards allowed (87.3 yards per game), most shutouts (9), most takeaways (337), most interceptions (212), most interceptions returned for touchdowns (29) and third-down conversion defense (33.9%). They also ranked second in total defense (280.7 yards per game) and fourth in sacks (416) in that span.

Ryan began his Ravens career as the defensive line coach for Brian Billick in 1999, when the Ravens defense finished second in the NFL in total defense and second against the run. In 2000, the defense allowed the fewest points in a 16-game season in NFL history (165) en route to winning Super Bowl XXXV.

Ryan was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2005. During his four seasons in that role, the Ravens finished fifth (2005), first (2006), sixth (2007) and second (2008) in total defense. In 2006, the “D” allowed only 201 points and 264 yards per game, and Ryan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers Association.

In 2008, new Ravens head coach John Harbaugh named Ryan assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. That season, the Ravens defense led the league with 34 takeaways, 26 interceptions, a 60.6 opponents’ passer rating, and four rushing TDs allowed.

Prior to joining the Ravens, Ryan was a defensive coordinator in college at Oklahoma (1998) and Cincinnati (1996-97). His first NFL coaching stint was with the Cardinals under father Buddy Ryan, when he oversaw the Cardinals’ defensive line in 1994 and linebackers in 1995 (on the same staff with his twin brother, Rob, now the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator). Rex also coached at Morehead State (1990-93), New Mexico Highlands (1989) and Eastern Kentucky (1987-88).

Before Ryan became a coach, he had a chance to see some great defense up close and personal. Buddy brought him along to practices when he became the Jets defensive line coach for the 1968 season — the Jets’ Super Bowl III season, of course. Rex then watched his dad coach the 1985 Chicago Bears. He was a ballboy for those Bears teams early in his father’s tenure as the defensive coordinator. He left for college during the 1985 season, but was on the sidelines during Super Bowl XX, when the Bears finished their 18-1 run with a 46-10 victory over New England and Buddy was carried off on his defenders’ shoulders.

OFF THE FIELD

Ryan, 52, graduated from Stevenson (IL) High School in Prairie View, IL, and played football at SW Oklahoma State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1986. He earned his master’s degree in physical education at Eastern Kentucky in 1988.

Ryan was born in Ardmore, OK. He and his wife, Michelle, have two sons, Payton, named for Walter Payton, and Seth.

COACHING TIMELINE

New York Jets

2009-

Head Coach

Baltimore Ravens

1999-2008

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator           2008
Defensive Coordinator 2005-07
Defensive Line 1999-2004

Oklahoma

1998

Defensive Coordinator

Cincinnati

1996-97

Defensive Coordinator

Arizona Cardinals

1994-95

Linebackers 1995
Defensive Line 1994

Morehead State

1990-93

Defensive Coordinator

New Mexico Highlands

1989

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator          

Eastern Kentucky

1987-88

Defensive Ends

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