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  1. #1
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    'Go-fer' is now Rams' go-to guy

    By Jim Thomas
    Monday, Jan. 19 2009
    Young Steve Spagnuolo was working towards his master's in sports management at
    the University of Massachusetts but needed an internship to help complete his
    degree requirements.

    He got an internship that would have a profound effect on his career. In the
    summer of 1983, he was a personnel department intern during training camp for
    the Washington Redskins.

    "I worked directly with Charley Casserly, who was then assistant general
    manager," Spagnuolo told the Post-Dispatch Sunday.

    Casserly was promoted to assistant GM just a year earlier, and lucky for
    Spagnuolo, re-instituted a club intern policy that has produced numerous league
    executives over the years. And now, one NFL head coach.

    "He and I just hit it off," said Rams general manager Billy Devaney, who was
    then a Redskins scout. "He was a good guy."

    And a "go-fer" for the Redskins.

    "He'd make the airport runs," Devaney said. "He picked players up that were
    coming in, or took players to the airport that were cut. He was the absolute
    'go-fer.' We used 16mm film back then; if the tape broke Spags was the guy who
    spliced the tape together."

    After hiring Spagnuolo on Saturday as their new head coach, the Rams are hoping
    he can help splice together a team that finished 2-14 this season and has lost
    27 of its last 32 games. He will be formally introduced as the team's head
    coach today at Rams Park.

    "I can tell you this," Spagnuolo said. "I was very blessed and humbled that I
    was able to talk to various teams throughout this process. What I was looking
    for in terms of a final decision was people. How it would be working with the
    people? It was a gut (feeling). I knew inside this was the right thing to do."

    Spagnuolo, 49, said it always was a career goal to become a head coach.

    "Absolutely," he said. "When you get in this business, most of us almost all
    of us have the drive to be a head coach. If you don't, I don't know if you
    have the push you need. I feel I'm a very lucky and blessed guy."

    Spagnuolo, who comes to St. Louis after two seasons as defensive coordinator
    for the New York Giants, turned down a head-coaching offer from the Redskins
    last year at this time. This offseason, he interviewed with Denver and the New
    York Jets. So why the Rams?

    "No. 1 thing was gut feeling," Spagnuolo said. "The people, my relationship and
    closeness with Billy. I think there's a lot of good players there."

    The Giants defeated the Rams 41-13 at the Edward Jones Dome in Game 2 this
    season. The Giants got knocked out of the playoffs a week ago, so Spagnuolo
    isn't up to speed on Rams personnel just yet.

    For now, his No. 1 priority is putting together his coaching staff. Spagnuolo
    plans to meet with each holdover member of the Rams' staff those still under
    contract and those whose contracts expire Feb. 15. He will meet with all Rams
    Park employees this morning before his introductory news conference. On
    Tuesday, Spagnuolo and Devaney will head down to Mobile, Ala., for the Senior

    But instead of watching draft prospects work out this week, Spagnuolo may not
    leave his hotel room in Mobile. He'll be working the phones and conducting
    interviews to put together his staff.

    A quarter of a century ago, back at Redskins training camp, being an NFL head
    coach seemed like a pipe dream.

    "The first guy I picked up as an intern was Darrell Green," Spagnuolo said,
    referring to the Hall of Fame cornerback. "He was coming to camp, he got into
    the van, and I still remember it to this day."

    One of the best parts about that summer internship was sitting in on Hall of
    Fame coach Joe Gibbs' staff meetings. "It was a tremendous experience for a
    23-year-old guy," Spagnuolo said.

    After that summer, Spagnuolo embarked in earnest on his coaching career, mainly
    at the college level. Meanwhile, Devaney moved up the ranks in personnel in the
    NFL. But they stayed in touch, and 10 years later, they hooked up again in San

    After college coaching stints at Lafayette and Connecticut, Spagnuolo coached
    the defensive line and special teams in 1992 for the Barcelona Dragons of NFL
    Europe. But the league folded in November following that season. (NFL Europe
    was a spring league.)

    There were no coaching jobs to be had in the middle of autumn in the U.S., so
    Spagnuolo hooked up with Devaney again in 1993, this time in San Diego. At that
    time, Devaney was director of player personnel for the Chargers.

    "I was a regional scout," Spagnuolo said. "I did some cross-checking for them.
    It was temporary, I'd say maybe a couple of months."

    Spagnuolo got back into coaching later that year for Maine and has been
    coaching ever since.

    "The first thing that jumped out about Spags was that he was a strong character
    guy who just had a passion about football," Devaney said. "He just had an edge
    to him that I could relate to. That little man's edge. I just thought he was
    smart as hell. You could see that early on. The way he carried himself, and
    related to the players. He had an eye for talent."

    That "little man's edge" refers to the fact that Spagnuolo stands 5-feet-7.
    Devaney is, uh, vertically challenged himself.

    "I'm sure we'll see eye-to-eye," Devaney quipped.

  2. #2
    maineram Guest

    Re: 'Go-fer' is now Rams' go-to guy

    [QUOTE]Spagnuolo got back into coaching later that year for Maine and has been
    coaching ever since.[QUOTE]

    I knew there was reason I liked this guy. It's that DEEP Maine tradition of putting out NFL head coaches !!

    Maineram -

  3. #3
    RAMPAGE! Guest

    Re: 'Go-fer' is now Rams' go-to guy

    Gosh this guy is going to be a real gem.

    Call me crazy but I think Spags and bill cowher have some similarities
    and this makes me very very happy!

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