Hackett Out, Titans' Heimerdinger In

January 19th, 2005
The New York Jets wasted little time finding a replacement for Paul Hackett who resigned this morning, by announcing this afternoon the hiring Mike Heimerdinger as their new Offensive Coordinator. Heimerdinger had been the Titans's Offensive Coordinator for the past five years. The New York Jets wasted little time finding a replacement for Paul Hackett who resigned this morning, by announcing this afternoon the hiring Mike Heimerdinger as their new Offensive Coordinator. Heimerdinger had been the Titans's Offensive Coordinatorfor the past five years.

Heimerdinger, 52, consistently directed one of the NFL’s most potent offensive attacks. In his first four seasons with Tennessee, the Titans were transformed into a wide receiver-driven offense and controlled the game with its rushing attack. From 1999 -2003, all of the Titans offensive weapons posted career-high numbers and produced an NFL MVP in QB Steve McNair. In 2003, the Titans scored the most points (435) since 1961 and the second highest total in franchise history. The Titans’ offense also posted a franchise record with six consecutive games scoring 30 or more points last season and became only the third NFL team to accomplish such a streak since 1970 (St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers).

In both 2002 and 2003, the Titans produced the first two 3,000/1,000/1,000 yard seasons in the 45-year history of the franchise with McNair throwing for more than 3,000 yards, Eddie George rushing for over 1,000 yards and Derrick Mason recording 1,000 receiving yards .

In the five-year period that Heimerdinger directed the offense, they were the most productive in terms of yards (26,962), passing yards (17,638) and first downs (1,517) since the "run-n-shoot" years over a decade ago. Over the course of his tenure in Tennessee, the Titans averaged 337 yards per game in total offense, 220.5 yards a game passing and 19 first downs a game.

In addition, the Titans ranked in the top five in the NFL in time of possession in each of the last five seasons. Under Heimerdinger, McNair has developed into an elite NFL quarterback, being named AP Co-MVP of the league in 2003. He became the first quarterback in franchise history to win the award and only the second overall (Earl Campbell, 1979). He was the only NFL quarterback in 2003 to register a quarterback rating over 100. In 2001, McNair was the youngest quarterback of five in the NFL to record a rating over 90 and throw for 20+ touchdowns (Favre, Warner, Gannon and Garcia), becoming the first AFC Central quarterback to accomplish the feat since Warren Moon in 1991.

Over the last five seasons WR Derrick Mason established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers, totaling 5,506 receiving yards (four consecutive 1,000 - yard receiving seasons), 34 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl invitation in 2003. Heimerdinger also oversaw the development of numerous young wide receivers and tight ends, including the Jets’ Justin McCareins, WR Drew Bennett (1,247 yards on 80 receptions in 2004), TE Frank Wycheck, TE Erron Kinney, TE Shad Meier and rookie TE Ben Troupe.

Despite his successes in the passing game, Heimerdinger is equally well-versed in the running game, with an attack that featured RB Eddie George until last season when his release coincided with the emergence of Brown. Under Heimerdinger, the Titans ran for an average of 139.2 yards rushing per game on an average of 36.1 carries per game and slightly over one rushing touchdown per contest. While Heimerdinger was in Tennessee, the Titans won two division titles (2000 and 2002), and advanced to the divisional playoffs in both 2000 and 2003.

Heimerdinger joined the Titans after five seasons coaching the wide receivers for the two-time world champion Denver Broncos. Under his tutelage, the Denver tandem of Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith became one of the top wide receiving duos in the NFL. Heimerdinger came to Denver in 1995 from Duke University where he was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach in 1994. Before his stint at Duke, Heimerdinger spent five years (1989-‘93) as offensive coordinator at Rice University. During his tenure, the Owls produced the school's first back-to-back winning seasons since 1960-‘61. In 1988, Heimerdinger also served as offensive coordinator at Cal-State Fullerton, where his club set the school's single-game record for most points scored with 58.

Heimerdinger began his coaching career in 1975 on the high school level in Illinois and earned a head coaching job at Johnsburg High School in McHenry, Ill. Two years later, he served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Florida in 1980. He spent 1981 at the Air Force Academy and at North Texas State in 1982 before returning to Florida in 1983.

He spent five years at Florida before moving on to Cal-State Fullerton. A native of DeKalb, IL (10/13/52), Heimerdinger played wide receiver (1970-71) and centerfield at Eastern Illinois, where he earned his degree in history in 1975. He also participated in the NCAA Division II College World Series in 1974. He later earned his master’s in Administration from Northern Illinois. Mike and his wife, Kathie are parents of daughter, Alicia (22) and son, Brian (18).

Heimerdinger had been a candidate to replace Dennis Erickson as the Head Coach in San Francisco. However, Baltimore's Mike Nolan ended up getting the job and everyone within the Titans beleived Heimerdinger would return to Tennessee. Some quick work by the Jets front office obviously convinced Heimerdinger to join Gang Green. Heimerdinger's contract with the Titans had reportedly expired after this past season and he was free to sign with any team. Reports say that Titans' Head Coach Jeff Fisher was upset that Heimerdinger did not re-sign with Tennessee.

As mentioned, Heimerdinger replaces the departed Paul Hackett who resigned earlier today. For more information on the Hackett departure, see the story below.

*Heimerdinger Bio Courtesy, NY Jets.

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