BOSTON (CBS) — One day after the Patriots parted ways with longtime assistant coach Pepper Johnson, the team announced an even bigger shake-up in the coaching staff.
Dante Scarnecchia, the offensive line coach and assistant head coach, will retire after 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which came with the New England Patriots (1982-88, 1991-2013). The longest-tenured active NFL coach, Scarnecchia has long been recognized as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league.
“Dante Scarnecchia is a Patriot and NFL legend who defied the phrase ‘not for long,’” head coach Bill Belichick said in the team’s announcement. “In an industry of constant change, Dante remained a fixture here for the simple reason that he helped every player reach his highest potential, regardless of who he was, how he was acquired or how much raw talent he had. In whatever category a coach can be assessed – evaluator, teacher, motivator, problem solver, disciplinarian, team player, winner – Dante is as good as it gets.
“As many games as he helped us win and as much as we would like to work with Dante forever, we are blessed with the opportunity to have been with him as long as we were.”
Scarnecchia has coached in 18 of the franchise’s 21 playoff seasons, and he’s coached in 39 of the 43 playoff games in franchise history, including all seven Super Bowls.
“Dante Scarnecchia has been the only coaching constant since I purchased the team in 1994,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in the announcement. “Not coincidentally, he retires as the only coach to have been a part of all seven Super Bowl teams in Patriots franchise history. I want to thank Dante for his leadership, professionalism and always putting the team first. For as long as I have known him, he was always the first to arrive in the morning and among the last to leave. He didn’t demand respect from his players. He earned it. I loved watching Dante lead by example, especially when he would run stride for stride with his players during their conditioning runs. He was a coach who always stressed technique and fundamentals and helped players reach their full potential. At training camp, his colorful, constructive, coaching critiques made him a fan favorite.
“His presence,” Kraft continued, “on the Patriots sidelines will be missed by our coaches, players and fans alike.”
The team announced that Dave DeGuglielmo, a 22-year coaching veteran whose most recent NFL job came with the Jets in 2012, will join the staff as the new offensive line coach. DeGuglielmo is a native of Lexington, Mass., who played offensive line at Boston University. He’s worked with the Jets, Dolphins and Giants.