Eric Mangini discuss interviewing with New York Jets, hiring a coaching staff, and more
The New York Jets have had 20 head coaches in their 62 seasons as a franchise. And as with any NFL team, there have been some good ones and there have been some… not so good ones.
One former Jets coach who falls right in the middle of the pack in that regard is Eric Mangini. The Bill Belichick disciple finished his Jets head coaching tenure with a 23-25 regular-season record.
In a recent interview with Andy Hanson published by Mike Tannenbaum’s media outlet, The 33rd Team, Mangini spoke about his time coaching for the green and white, talking first about what the interview process looked like.
“I interviewed with Terry Bradway and Mike Tannenbaum. We spent a lot of time on a ‘more traditional’ interview process,” Mangini recounted. “We spent a lot of time talking about what the operation would look like. Training camp, mini camp, regular season, draft, free agency. This was what I imagine most people would think an NFL head coach interview would be like.”
Mangini recalled interviewing with the Jets as feeling more “familiar” to him than what he went through with the Cleveland Browns years later.
“It was interesting because I was with Mike, who I had already known,” he said. “I also was in the division with New York and knew a lot about the other teams and had been in the New York Jets building for three years prior. I had been in the stadium, practice facility, and knew a lot of the staff from front office to strength and conditioning to medical.”
Mangini also had a lot to say when asked about the process of building his coaching staff in New York.
“This was the first time I had to assemble a coaching staff and I strived to bring elements of other teams I admired and respected while keeping some semblance of continuity among the staff. I hired a group of coaches whose personalities all meshed well together; when you spend so much time with one another, compatible personalities are key.”
Among these compatible coaching personalities was Brian Schottenheimer, who would ultimately wind up being New York’s offensive coordinator all the way through the 2011 season — beyond Mangini’s own tenure with the team.
“Brian Schottenheimer was someone I had experience game-planning against, as he was the quarterbacks coach of the San Diego Chargers from 2002-2005 while I was helping coach the New England Patriots defense,” recalled Mangini. “That system always created problems for our defense. I wanted an innovative and young offensive coordinator and he coached an offensive scheme that had given us fits whenever we played them. He was also willing to be flexible with his offensive system and adapt it to what we wanted to do in New York.”
Also on that coaching staff was a name that sat at the very top of the list of head coaching candidates in the 2022 cycle – Brian Daboll, who was recently named the head coach of the New York Giants.
“In 2007, I brought in Brian Daboll to be the quarterbacks coach. Daboll was someone I knew from my time with the Patriots. His intelligence, work ethic, and shared experience were very important to me. He helped bring elements of New England’s offensive system to New York and he eventually came with me to Cleveland.”
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Among the other notable “compatible personalities” that Mangini brought with him to the Jets that he touched on were Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Cleveland Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
“[Callahan’s] wealth of prior coaching experience both as the head coach of the Raiders and at the college level for Nebraska gave him a global perspective that elevated both our o-line and our team,” said Mangini of the incredibly impressive offensive line coach.
After being fired by the Jets in 2008, Mangini immediately parlayed that into a brief head coaching stint with the Browns.
“My transition from New York to Cleveland was an opportunity but also full of obstacles,” Mangini said. “When jobs become available, you become inundated with people reaching out to you and inquiring about openings. I was able to navigate this by talking with people I trusted, respected, and that I had worked with previously.”
The Browns fired Mangini in the first few days of 2011. Since then, he has found success in media, where he is still a regular voice in the world of sports.