Petrino hires bulk of coaching staff

The Falcons announced today the bulk of the coaching staff of new head coach Bobby Petrino. The Falcons still may make some more additions to their coaching staff, as currently they do not have a special teams coach. They have hired an assistant in that area. But the team has yet to designate someone to take the place of Joe DeCamillis, who served as special teams coordinator for the Falcons since 1997.

property of the Arizona Cardinals The persons hired include Keith Rowen, and Andy Sugarman as offensive assistants, with Brian VanGorder and Jon Gannon as defensive assistants, with Tom McMahon serving as assistant special teams coach, and Evan Marcus coordinating the strength department.

Rowen, 54, joins the Falcons coaching staff as tight ends coach. This will be his second stint in Atlanta, after coaching the Falcons offensive line from 1990-93. most recently worked as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. He served one and a half years before being demoted from the position after a Week 6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night. He worked with Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City from 1999-2004, and helped coach offensives lines in Oakland (1997-98), Minnesota (1994-96), and Indianapolis (1985-88). Rowen comes to the Falcons with 23 years of coaching experience in the NFL, 1 year in the USFL, and 8 years at the collegiate level.

Sugarman, 35, has been a close associate with former 49ers and Lions head coach Steve Mariucci, serving as an offensive assistant under him at California, San Francisco, and Detroit. His most recent position was as tight ends coach for the Lions in 2004 and 2005. He will serve as offensive quality control coach with the Falcons.

VanGorder, 47, comes to the team after one season as head coach at Georgia Southern. He also was a head coach at Wayne State from 1992-94. Van Gorder’s only NFL experience came in 2005, as the Jacksonville Jaguars linebackers coach. He served as a defensive coordinator for four different programs between 1997 and 2004, most prominently at the University of Georgia (2001-04).

Gannon, 23, was once a promising safety at Louisville, but his playing career was cut short by a severe hip injury in 2002. Last season, he joined the Louisville coaching staff under Petrino as a defensive graduate assistant. He will serve as defensive quality control coach for the Falcons.

McMahon, 37, was another assistant transported from Petrino’s Louisville staff. He will work as the assistant special teams coach for the Falcons, after dealing with the Cardinals special teams this past year. He also worked with their linebackers in 2006, after five seasons working with the defensive line.

Marcus, 39, will coordinate the Falcons strength and conditioning program, taking over for Sal Alosi after his sole season on the staff. THe past four seasons, Marcus coordinated the University of Virginia’s strength program. But he worked as an assistant strength coach for teh Saints for three seasons (2000-02), his only NFL experience. He has been a long time assistant strength coach on the collegiate level, having worked in a number of programs since 1991, including Louisville, Texas, Maryland, and Arizona State.

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Aaron Freeman
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