The Green Bay Packers Friday named Vince Tobin special assistant, adding 35 years of coaching experience to their staff, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced.
"Vince Tobin's reputation in the NFL as a quality football coach speaks for itself," Sherman said. "He has a wealth of experience and knowledge, which we will be able to tap into. As his job unfolds, he will make an extremely valuable contribution to our staff and team."
That contribution will spread Tobin's 24 years of professional coaching experience across the entire team.
"He will assume the newly designated title of special assistant," Sherman said, "bringing his football expertise to all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams."
Tobin's new position gives Sherman one of the NFL's most unique coaching staffs. Also Friday, the team promoted Joe Philbin to tight ends coach/assistant offensive line, and hired former Packers center James Campen as assistant offensive line coach/quality control - giving Green Bay three coaches with offensive-line responsibilities.
On defense, the club has three individuals - coordinator Bob Slowik, linebackers coach Mark Duffner and defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer - who have prior NFL experience as a defensive coordinator.
And now with Tobin, Green Bay has a former NFL head coach to offer analysis to everyone involved in scripting and executing the weekly gameplan. Sherman expects to use him in several areas, including strategic insight in special situations. But Tobin's most significant contribution may come in advance scouting of an opponent's strengths and weaknesses.
"His role will be to work ahead on our upcoming opponents," Sherman said, "thus facilitating the process of getting accurate information to our players and coaches at the beginning of each week."
Tobin, out of football the last two seasons, spent 2001 as the Lions' defensive coordinator. The Cardinals' head coach from 1996-2000, he led Arizona to the 1998 NFC playoffs, ending the league's longest playoff drought, and recorded the franchise's first playoff win since 1947, a 20-7 victory at Dallas.
A highly respected defensive mind, he has 15 years of NFL coaching experience, 10 as a defensive coordinator. Before joining the Cardinals, he headed a Colts defense (1994-95) that ranked seventh in the NFL in 1995 and fell one game short of a Super Bowl berth. His stint in Indianapolis included a 24-game streak in which the Colts did not allow a 100-yard rusher.
Tobin replaced Buddy Ryan as Bears defensive coordinator in 1986, when Chicago established the NFL record for points allowed in a 16-game season, 187. The record stood until 2000, when the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens broke it. Also in Chicago, Tobin's unit ranked first in 1986 allowing 258.0 total yards per game, first in 1987 allowing 94.2 rushing yards per game, and first in 1988 in both points allowed (215) and run defense (82.9 yards per game). Tobin also went 2-0 in '88 as interim Bears head coach, when Mike Ditka recovered from a heart attack.
He joined the NFL from the USFL, where as defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia/Baltimore franchise under Jim Mora (1983-85), he helped the Stars to the league championship game all three years, including consecutive USFL titles in 1984 and 1985.
In 19 years as a professional defensive coordinator, including six seasons (1977-82) with the CFL's B.C. Lions, his team has endured a losing campaign only three times. Before his CFL stint, he spent 11 seasons (1965, 1967-76) coaching at his alma mater, Missouri, the first five under former Packers head coach Dan Devine.
Several of his past defensive assistants have become NFL defensive coordinators, and two - Dave McGinnis and Dom Capers, became NFL head coaches. His coaching tree also includes seven individuals who became coordinators: Jim Johnson, Vic Fangio, Larry Marmie, John Pease, Greg Blache, Zaven Yaralian and John Bunting (now head coach at the University of North Carolina). Plus, former Giants head coach Jim Fassel also worked under Tobin.
Vince and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Ryan and Shannon, and make their home in Goodyear, Ariz. He'll officially begin his coaching duties in Green Bay on Monday.