HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Eric Mangini has worked for Bill Parcells
and Bill Belichick, learning from two of the greatest coaches in
The New York Jets are banking on that pedigree to lead them back into the
Despite his youth and relative inexperience, the organization
hired Mangini as its coach Tuesday. The former Patriots defensive
coordinator, who turns 35 on Thursday, becomes the youngest head
coach in the league.
Terms of the deal weren't known but it is believed he will get
between $2 million and $2.5 million per year over five years.
"Being compared to Bill Belichick is one of the highest
compliments you can be paid," Mangini said. "I am not Bill
Belichick, I am not Bill Parcells. I am Eric Mangini. I'm going to
approach it my way. I'm going to take the experiences and the
lessons that I learned from those guys and I'm going to apply that
to my team."
The baby-faced Mangini won't be confused with former coach
Herman Edwards, who left for Kansas City last week. Mangini was
reserved and low key at his introductory news conference, hardly
exhibiting any of the fire and energy that is Edwards' trademark.
But this is a new era for the organization, which hopes Mangini
can instill a different attitude after the Jets finished 4-12 last
season. Much of those expectations have to do with the people
Mangini has worked under.
While Mangini was going to Wesleyan, he figured he would be an
investment banker. But he spent two summers studying in Australia
while coaching a semipro football team. It was there he realized he
wanted to go into coaching permanently.
Mangini took a job as a ball boy with the Cleveland Browns, then
went to work in the public relations department. He then met
Belichick, who gave him a few assignments to do. Belichick liked
his work and gave him a job as an assistant in 1995.
From there he worked for Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore in 1996,
then for Parcells and Belichick with the Jets from 1997-99. Mangini
moved with Belichick to New England, where he served his one and
only season as defensive coordinator in 2005.
In all, Mangini spent 10 of 11 years in the NFL working under
"I learned a lot from Bill Belichick," Mangini said. "I
learned you need to understand people. He is a master motivator. He
was my mentor, my teacher and I consider him a close friend that I
will have for the rest of my life."
Mangini, who also has close ties with Jets assistant general
manager Mike Tannenbaum, interviewed with the team Sunday, a day
after the Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs. The Jets
offered him the job late Monday night and Mangini accepted. Though
there were reports Belichick tried to talk him out of taking the
position, Mangini said his old coach was supportive.
The Jets interviewed seven other candidates, but they settled on
Mangini because of his background and work ethic.
"He's got a strong pedigree," owner Woody Johnson said. "He's
been a major contributor to a very successful organization. The
most important thing is he demonstrated to us a passion for
football, a passion for teaching. He knows something about the
culture of football that appealed to us."
Even Parcells chimed in, saying in a statement: "More than
anything, his experience in working alongside Bill Belichick and
the success they had in New England will serve him well as he
becomes a head coach."
Then there was the question of his age.
"Obviously my age is a question. But I read recently where Bill
Walsh said you're never quite ready for your first head coaching
job regardless of how old you are," Mangini said. "I'm not naive
to think there won't be bumps along the way. We're going to grow
General manager Terry Bradway said that wasn't a concern.
"I have no problem with that. It's about experience and
ability. It's not about age," Bradway said.
The Jets also interviewed former Vikings coach Mike Tice, former
Saints coach Jim Haslett, former Rams interim coach Joe Vitt,
Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis and Jets assistants Donnie
Henderson, Mike Heimerdinger and Mike Westhoff.
Mangini said he would meet with the coaches on staff in the next
few days to decide who he wants to retain. It is unlikely Henderson
and Heimerdinger will return; Westhoff could come back.
The team Mangini inherits has its share of questions, and has to
be rebuilt on offense. The biggest dilemma is quarterback Chad
Pennington, coming off his second major shoulder injury.
The offensive line and receiving corps have to be revamped, and
a decision must be made on whether to keep running back Curtis
Martin -- the only player to attend the news conference. Still,
Mangini said there was no hesitancy in taking the job.
"I've been a coach for 11 years, I've been on three Super Bowl
winning teams," Mangini said. "I've been with two of the greatest
football minds in NFL history. I've got an extensive foundation to
build the Jets into a Super Bowl-caliber franchise."
Mangini is the fourth NFL coach hired since the end of the
regular season. There are still six openings: Buffalo, New
Orleans, Oakland, Houston, Detroit and St. Louis.