Giants coaching staff announced; Mike Shula named offensive coordinator

Posted Feb 15, 2018

The Giants have announced their full coaching staff for the 2018 season:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Giants head coach Pat Shurmur today announced the 16 assistants who will comprise his coaching staff; 10 are new to the team, six were here last season.

Shurmur’s offensive staff will include Mike Shula (coordinator), Tyke Tolbert (wide receivers), Hal Hunter (offensive line), Craig Johnson (running backs), Lunda Wells (tight ends), Ben Wilkerson (assistant offensive line) and Ryan Roeder (offensive assistant). Shula, Tolbert, Hunter and Wilkerson are each new to the Giants, while Johnson, Wells and Roeder worked here under both Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo.

The defensive coaches include coordinator James Bettcher, plus position coaches Gary Emanuel (defensive line), Bill McGovern (linebackers), Lou Anarumo (defensive backs), Deshea Townsend (assistant defensive backs), as well as Rob Leonard (assistant linebackers) and Bobby Blick (defensive assistant). McGovern, Leonard and Blick have worked on previous Giants staffs, while Emanuel, Anarumo and Townsend are newcomers to the team.

The special teams will be led by a pair of new coaches in coordinator Thomas McGaughey and assistant Anthony Blevins. McGaughey was the Giants’ assistant special teams coach from 2007-10.

“We’re thrilled to announce our coaches,” Shurmur said. “They’re all excellent people, career coaches, guys who have had success in the profession developing players. We’re excited to have them here at the New York Giants.

“Some of the coaches I have a history with, some were on previous staffs here, and other coaches are guys I’ve known through the profession. I took a good look at some of the coaches that were here, and we certainly wanted to make sure that some of the really fine coaches that were in the building a year ago had an opportunity to stay.”

Most of the coaches have been working in the Quest Diagnostics Training Center since shortly after Shurmur was formally introduced on Jan. 26. Shurmur said the entire staff will be here by the end of the week.

“We’ve been working on offense and defense, even though we haven’t been full,” Shurmur said. “I’ve been directing the offensive part of it, as I will be involved throughout. And certainly they’ve been going on defense and special teams.

“I’ve been through this and when you’re a new coach, the process of putting together your initial staff is time-consuming. There are many, many excellent coaches out there, but you want to try to bring in the right guys that fit.”

Shula, 52, is a 30-year coaching veteran, 26 as an NFL assistant and four as a head coach at the University of Alabama. He spent the previous seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, including the last five as offensive coordinator.

Shurmur will call the plays, and Shula will play a primary role in devising game plans, as well as working with the quarterbacks.

“I’ve known Mike a very long time,” Shurmur said. “He’s done an outstanding job developing and working with quarterbacks. He was the offensive coordinator of a team that was recently playing in the Super Bowl. They’ve done an excellent job on offense in Carolina. We share a vision in terms of what we want to do offensively. We’re excited that he’ll be with us. He’ll be the offensive coordinator and also work with the quarterbacks.

“He’ll assume all the roles that any offensive coordinator would have, and he’d obviously be in positon to call it, if need be.”

In 2017, the Panthers were fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (131.4), seventh in third-down efficiency (93 conversions in 222 opportunities, a 41.9% success rate), and 12th in scoring (22.7 points a game). The previous season, Shula’s offense battled through injuries on along the offensive line to finish 10th in the NFL in rushing. Those two seasons continued a tradition of strong ground games under Shula; the Panthers produced 30 consecutive regular-season games with at least 100 rushing yards from Week 6 of the 2014 season to Week 3 in 2016, the longest streak in the NFL since Pittsburgh had 43 in a row from 1974-77.

Shula’s most memorable season in Charlotte was 2015, when the Panthers finished 15-1 in the regular season and advanced to Super Bowl 50. He directed an offense that helped Carolina set team records with an NFL-leading 500 points and 59 touchdowns. Quarterback Cam Newton was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and first-team All-Pro after throwing for 35 touchdowns, running for 10 more, and producing a 99.4 quarterback rating. He was the first player in NFL history with at least 30 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a season. That Panthers team finished second in the NFL with 142.6 rushing yards per game, the highest ranking in team history.

Prior to joining Carolina, Shula was quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-10. From 2003-06, Shula compiled a 26-23 record as head coach at Alabama, his alma mater, and led the Crimson Tide to three consecutive bowl games. Shula coached the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks from 2000-02. It marked his second stint with the team, having previously served as a coaching assistant from 1991-92. Shula was the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-99.

Shula is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Tolbert, 50, is entering his 15th NFL season, all as a wide receivers coach with Arizona (2003), Buffalo (2004-09), Carolina (2010) and Denver (2011-17). Two years ago, the Broncos defeated Carolina in Super Bowl 50.

From 2012-16 one of Tolbert’s Denver standouts, Demaryius Thomas, had at least 90 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in every year to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt as the only players to reach those marks in five consecutive seasons. Thomas was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons. Last year, Thomas was tied for 11th in the NFL with 83 receptions, for 949 yards and five touchdowns.

Hunter, 58, is a 35-year coaching veteran who was most recently with the Cleveland Browns in 2016, when his best player was 10-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas. Hunter coached the previous three seasons (2013-15) for the Indianapolis Colts, serving as assistant offensive line coach for two years before spending his final year as line coach. Prior to his stint in Indianapolis, Hunter spent seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers as assistant offensive line coach (2006), offensive line coach (2007-11) and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach (2012). Under his guidance, the Chargers offensive line boasted eight Pro Bowl selections, while opening holes for three Pro Bowl running backs. Hunter previously coached college football for 24 years.

“(With) Hunter, there’s a little bit of a scheme fit,” Shurmur said. “He’s done a good job coaching the offensive line wherever he’s been.”
Wilkerson, 35, spent the previous three seasons as the Chicago Bears’ assistant offensive line coach. In 2016-17, Jordan Howard rushed for 2,435 yards and 15 touchdowns, including nine last season. Howard’s 1,313 yards were the most by a rookie in Bears history. In 2014, Wilkerson taught physical education and was an assistant football and track coach for North Shore Senior High School in Houston. He was the offensive line coach at Grambling State University in 2012-13. Wilkerson played in 32 games over three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2006) and Atlanta Falcons (2007-08)
Johnson, 57, is entering his fifth season as the Giants’ running backs coach. In 2017, Orleans Darkwa had the best season of his four-year career leading the Giants 751 yards and five touchdowns on 171 carries. Darkwa had both of the Giants’ 100-yard rushing games, including 154 yards in the season-ending victory against Washington. In previous seasons, Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen had career years under Johnson.

Prior to joining the Giants’ staff, Johnson spent three seasons as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterbacks coach. He was also on the staff of the Tennessee Titans for 12 seasons, most of them coaching quarterbacks. From 1983-99, Johnson coached at seven different colleges.

Wells, 35, has been a member of the Giants’ staff since 2012. This will be his first season as the team’s tight ends coach. Wells was an offensive assistant in his first season, and was the assistant offensive line coach from 2013-17, first under Pat Flaherty and then Mike Solari. Last season, Wells helped the line maneuver through numerous injuries that forced the Giants to use 10 different starting offensive line combinations, their highest single-season total since the 1970 merger. That was the NFL’s third-highest total in 2017 behind Detroit and Green Bay, which each used 11.

Roeder, 38, has been the Giants’ offensive assistant since 2013. Prior to joining the Giants, he was a collegiate coach for nine seasons. Roeder is a former quarterback at the University at Albany.

Bettcher, 39, comes to the Giants after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the last three as defensive coordinator. In those three years, the Cards’ defense was consistently among the NFL’s best in yardage allowed, ranking fifth in 2015 (321.7), second in 2016 (305.2) and sixth in 2017 (310.9). Arizona was also one of the league’s most effective run-stopping units each season, finishing, respectively, sixth (91.3), ninth (94.9), and sixth again (89.6). In 2016, Bettcher’s defense led the NFL with 48 sacks. Last season, the Cards took down opposing quarterbacks 37 times, including an NFL-leading 17.0 sacks by Chandler Jones.

Before being promoted to coordinator, Bettcher spent two years coaching Arizona’s outside linebackers. He entered the NFL in 2012 as the Indianapolis Colts’ special assistant to the head coach/outside linebackers coach. He also coached on the collegiate level at the University of St. Francis, Bowling Green, North Carolina, Ball State, and New Hampshire.

“James coaches a defense that’s hard to score against,” said Shurmur. “He had great success in Arizona, and we’re certainly glad to have him here.”

Emanuel, 59, is a 37-year coaching veteran who spent the previous six seasons as the defensive line coach of the Indianapolis Colts. In 2017, Emanuel’s group included former Giants tackle Johnathan Hankins, who recorded 44 tackles and two sacks.

Emanuel was also the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive line coach in 2005-06. After leaving the Niners, he spent one season at San Jose State, two at Rutgers, and two at Purdue University, where he was the defensive coordinator and line coach in 2011. Emanuel began his coaching career at Plymouth State University in 1981.

Anarumo, a 51-year-old Staten Island native, was the Miami Dolphins’ defensive backs coach from 2012-17. In the recently-completed season, strong safety Reshad Jones led the Dolphins with 122 tackles and was selected as a starter on the AFC Pro Bowl team. Cornerback Xavien Howard was one of the 25 NFL players with at least four interceptions, including one he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Before joining the Dolphins, Anarumo spent eight years as the defensive backs coach at Purdue, where he worked with Emanuel in 2010-11.  

McGovern, 55, is preparing for his third season as the Giants’ linebackers coach. In 2017, he helped developed young backers B.J. Goodson and Calvin Munson, who together accounted for 108 tackles despite missing a combined 11 games because of injuries. In 2016, the linebackers contributed significantly to the NFL’s most-improved defense. Jonathan Casillas, voted the Giants’ defensive captain by his teammates, finished second on the team with 92 tackles (59 solo).

Prior to joining the Giants, McGovern spent three seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles’ outside linebackers coach. He previously coached for 15 years in two stops at Boston College.

Townsend, 42, a former 13-year NFL player, is entering his fifth season as a pro coach. He spent the previous two years as the Tennessee Titans’ secondary backs coach. Last season, Titans safety Kevin Byard tied Detroit’s Darius Slay with an NFL-best eight interceptions. Byard was also third on the team with 87 tackles (62 solo). In 2016, Townsend’s secondary intercepted 10 passes and had 71 passes defensed. From 2013-15, Townsend was the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi. In 2014, the Bulldogs led the nation with 89 passes defended. Townsend was the Arizona Cardinals’ assistant defensive backs coach in 2011-12.

Townsend played 191 games with 80 starts for Pittsburgh (1998-2009) and Indianapolis (2010). He was on the Steelers teams that defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL and Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. Townsend was a four-year starter at the University of Alabama.

Leonard, 32, joined the Giants in 2013 as a defensive assistant. In 2017, he was the team’s assistant defensive line coach. Before joining the Giants, Leonard spent three seasons as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, North Carolina State University.

Blick, 33, is entering his second season as a Giants defensive assistant. From 2008-16 he worked in college football, including a stint as Army West Point’s director of player personnel the year before coming to the Giants.

McGaughey, 44, recently completed his second season as Carolina’s special teams coordinator. In 2017, the Panthers ranked fifth in the NFL with a 42.4-yard net punting average, and eighth by allowing an average of just 5.9 yards on 30 opponent punt returns. Kicker Graham Gano led the league with a .967 success rate on field goal attempts (29 of 30) and made 34 of 37 extra point tries. In 2016, Carolina led the NFL with three blocked kicks.

McGaughey was also the special teams coordinator of the Jets (2014) and San Francisco 49ers (2015). From 2011-13, was the special teams coordinator/defensive assistant at LSU, where he coached current Giants Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brad Wing. In McGaughey’s first stint with the Giants, the team won Super Bowl XLII in 2007, and the following year had a special teams Pro Bowl battery in kicker John Carney, punter Jeff Feagles and long snapper Zak DeOssie.

“I knew Thomas in the profession, and after having a chance to visit with him, I knew it would be a perfect fit here,” Shurmur said. “He’s an outstanding coach. He coached top 10 units in special teams.”
Blevins, 41, spent the previous five seasons as a coaching assistant/special teams with the Cardinals. Blevins helped special teamer Justin Bethel get selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2013-15) after leading the Cards in special teams tackles each season. He came to the Cardinals after spending the 2012 season at his alma mater, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, as cornerbacks coach following three seasons at Tennessee State (2009-11) coaching special teams and cornerbacks. Blevins also worked at the University of Tennessee-Martin in 2008 coaching cornerbacks while serving as recruiting coordinator.

The team also announced it has retained strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and longtime assistant Markus Paul, as well as Joe Danos (performance manager) and Pratik Patel (director of performance nutrition).

Wellman joined the Giants in 2016 as a strength and conditioning coach. Paul has been the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach since 2007. Danos is entering his sixth season with the team, and Patel is in his second year.