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More useful (and useless) info on Spagnuolo
Compiled By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH SPORTS COLUMNIST
* Date of Birth: Dec. 21, 1959 in Whitinsville, Mass. He’s 49 years old.
* To prepare for this job, Spagnuolo has spent the last 27 years coaching football in three countries, at six colleges and with four professional teams. The road included stops at Easton, Pa; Storrs, Conn; Barcelona, Spain; San Diego; Orono, Maine; New Brunswick, N.J.; Bowling Green, Ohio; Frankfurt, Germany; Philadelphia; East Rutherford, N.J.
* His first NFL job was as an intern in the Washington Redskins’ player-personnel department in 1983. Among his duties: driving released players to the airport, making coffee, assembling the daily newspaper clips, charting plays during practice and stocking the refrigerators. "I was basically a gopher," Spagnuolo once said.
* Billy Devaney must have noticed this valuable gopher. Devaney was working for the Redskins in 1983, and came to admire Spagnuolo’s work ethic and personality. After moving to San Diego to be the assistant GM, Devaney hired Spagnuolo as a Chargers’ scout.
* Commenting about this "Where in the World is Spags" coaching odyssey, NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin once said: "His background is what attracted me. Because he never really had a high-profile job and worked his ever-lovin' butt off."
* Spagnuolo’s career highlight: orchestrating a nasty defensive assault on Tom Brady and the high-scoring and presumably unstoppable New England offense to spring a 17-14 upset in last year’s Super Bowl. The Giants sacked Brady five times in that one.
* At Grafton (Mass.) High, Spagnuolo was virtually a straight-A student. And he played quarterback, running the wishbone offense.
* Also in high school, Spagnuolo played second base on a state championship baseball team. On the high school hockey team, he played an aggressive, buzzing brand of center and didn’t shy away from contact.
* In high school, Spagnuolo told his coaches and his pals that one day he’d be an NFL head coach. According to the New York Times, few who knew him doubted that it would happen. Spagnuolo would stay after practice on a daily basis, to go over the finer points of the team offense with coaches and teammates. High school chums told the Times that Spagnuolo was always able to rally his teammates around him.
Said one of those friends, Mike Conway: "Steve is a brilliant, brilliant man. "He very easily could be at Mass General doing brain surgery instead of coaching football. You’ll never meet anybody smarter than him."
* Spagnuolo played wide receiver at Springfield (Mass.) College.
* Spagnuolo’s younger brother, Kevin, attends Harvard Law School.
* The Minnesota Vikings tried to hire Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator in 2005, but Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid wouldn’t let Spagnuolo go. Curiously, the Eagles did allow Spags to join the division-rival NY Giants as the defensive coordinator before the 2007 season.
* When he gives an autograph, Spagnuolo writes in the New Testament verse Hebrews 11:1 alongside his signature. In case you want to know, here is that passage of scripture: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
* Spagnuolo's wife, Maria, works as a hair stylist. She has also earned considerable praise for her baking skills. Giants staffers and players have joked that Spagnuolo had the favorite meeting room at the Giants’ facility, because it was always stocked with deserts, including apple turnovers, cheesecake, cookies, assorted pies and puddings.
* NY Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is so appreciative of Spagnuolo's role in developing him as a top player that he planned to pay for Spagnuolo to join him in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. Well, as it turns out, Spagnuolo has other things to do that weekend... in St. Louis.
* Spagnuolo's favorite band is Boston. So when Devaney hired him as Rams head coach on Saturday, we can only assume that Devaney had the song "More Than a Feeling" playing in his head.