Originally created 09/19/06

Ex-head coaches get fresh start with Jags



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - They have nearly 30 years of NFL coaching experience combined, numerous postseason victories and three Super Bowl rings.

They might be better known for their failures.

Mike Tice spent the past four years as head coach in Minnesota. He was fired after a 9-7 season that followed a 2-5 start, a ticket-scalping scandal and the infamous Love Boat fiasco. Dave Campo spent three years (2000-02) as head coach in Dallas. He didn't have Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, and he was fired after three consecutive 5-11 seasons.

Now Tice and Campo are trying to rebuild their reputations - and revamp their rsums - with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who played host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

Coach Jack Del Rio hired Campo last year, after his two-year stint as Cleveland's defensive coordinator, to run the secondary. He added Tice in the off-season to work with Jacksonville's offense. He made both of them assistant head coaches.

"I think it's a smart business move on his part to surround himself with the best coaches," Tice said. "All the great generals have great colonels and lieutenants. All the great corporate CEOs had great vice presidents and presidents. I don't know why you wouldn't want as many as you could get."

Nineteen NFL teams have at least one former head coach on their staffs. The Jaguars, Washington, Miami and St. Louis have two or more.

Having former head coaches could be problematic, mostly from an ego standpoint. Basically, teams have to get someone accustomed to calling the shots to start following orders. Del Rio said his strong personality makes it work.

"I think you'd have to have a certain way about you to handle ex-head coaches on your staff," he said. "But I feel good about our relationship. The more talented people I have around me, the better for us. I'm not intimidated by that."

Tice's role is loosely defined. He works primarily with the offensive line, but gets involved with other aspects of the offense.

"I spend time with all the groups," he said. "I have the ability to coach in the areas where I feel we might need a little energy. I just enjoy teaching."

If things go well, Tice might not be in Jacksonville long. At 47, he wants to be a head coach again. "Of course I do. Why wouldn't you? There's nothing like being the boss," Tice said.

Tice and Campo both have a chance to change perception in Jacksonville.

"I've only got one goal, and that's to win," Campo said, "because I've been getting my butt kicked for five years, and I'm tired of it."