Joe Philbin will be the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins, his first head coaching job after nine years as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers.
The team confirmed that it had named the former Green Bay offensive coordinator as its 10th head coach Friday night, after ESPN and The Miami Herald both reported the news.
“We are thrilled to have Joe Philbin join the Miami Dolphins as our head coach,” owner Stephen Ross said in his announcement. “Joe has all the attributes that we were looking for when we started this process. Jeff Ireland and I felt Joe was the right choice to bring the Dolphins back to the success we enjoyed in the past."
Philbin thanked Ross and general manager Ireland for the chance to become head coach of what he called "one of the premier franchises in professional sports," and said the Dolphins have "a strong nucleus to build around."
"Working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition," he said. "I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to their support, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Dolphins interim coach Todd Bowles were the other finalists for the Dolphins job. The team wants to keep Bowles on the staff as defensive coordinator, something with which Philbin appeared more comfortable than McCoy.
According to NFL.com, McCoy wanted to interview a few more candidates for the defensive coordinator position, while Philbin is apparently on board with the idea.
Philbin did not call plays for the Packers this season (that duty fell to head coach Mike McCarthy), but he did run all offensive meetings and devise the Packers' game plans.
Earlier this week, McCarthy said of Philbin, "I think the world of Joe Philbin. The job he's done here speaks for itself."
With Philbin in place, speculation is rampant that the team will move to bring Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to Miami with Philbin. He and Philbin played a big role in the development of Packers All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his understudy, Matt Flynn.
Flynn, a free agent, could also be a target of the new regime this offseason. Miami's relatively low draft slot (either 8 or 9, depending on a coin flip) and the dearth of elite college quarterbacks entering the draft mean the team will likely have to upgrade at quarterback through free agency.
Philbin had served as Green Bay's OC since 2007. Prior to that, he was an offensive line and tight ends coach for the Packers. Before working in Green Bay, Philbin had been an offensive line coach at the University of Iowa, Harvard, Northeastern, and Ohio University, among other smaller schools. He has 28 years of coaching experience in all, including 19 at the college level.
With Miami's month-long coaching search over, the team can now focus on rounding out Philbin's coaching staff. The team is expected to make a pitch to Bowles to stick with the team, but he could be drawing interest from elsewhere for a defensive coordinator job. Apart from Bowles, it is not apparent whether any other current coach's job is safe, as Philbin will likely choose to bring in his own staff.
Philbin will be formally introduced by the Dolphins Saturday afternoon.