If you've ever watched a football game, you'll know how many people on the field support the players. Sports teams have dedicated positions to support and guide their specific players, and one of those positions is the linebacker coach. The linebacker coach is responsible for teaching the defense appropriate drills and plays. The linebackers are the heart and soul of the team, leading them in defending against the opposition. These often giant players get additional coaching to keep them in top playing condition.
In the game of football, there are many positions, and the linebacker position in football is part of the defense. These players are responsible for stopping runs and passes using various techniques and plays. They must be athletic enough to play the pass, big enough to stop the running play and confident enough to lead the defense. A linebacker coach is the coach responsible for training these all-important players.
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The coaching staff consists of a head coach and various assistant coaches, including offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators, who support the development of the players. They're often responsible for linebackers, linemen and outside linebackers. Some linebacker coaches get promoted to head coach, and the experts at the NFL keep daily tabs on coaching roster changes so fans are always up to date.
There are no formal education requirements for linebacker coaches, though most have a bachelor's degree. Degrees that would be helpful for a linebacker coach include sports management, kinesiology or physical education. For example, Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has his master's degree in physical education.
However, other coaches have degrees in unrelated fields. Jon Gruden, former head coach of the Raiders, got his bachelor's in communications. Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has his bachelor's in economics.
Breaking into the NFL can be challenging, especially if you have no connections or a foot in the door. NFL coaches have a long tradition of excellence, and the trend shows no signs of stopping. The role of the linebacker coach is crucial in the team's makeup. They often report to the defensive coordinator, who manages all assistant coaches for the team.
The defensive coordinator will work with the linebacker coach to ensure their players are in the best possible shape. These hard-working coaches must transform players into leaders and teach the necessary skills to succeed. There's stiff competition among NFL coaches. While the old phrase "coaches are hired to be fired" rings true, some coaches have been at the helm of their team for decades.
Before coming into the NFL or becoming an NFL head coach, many linebacker coaches start in college football. They climb the ladder of the college football world and prove their worth over many years in athletics programs. Some of the highest-paid head coaches are in college football. For example, Nick Saban of the University of Alabama makes an average salary of $10 million annually. The head coach for Tennessee makes $4 million per year.
Years of Experience
There's no cut-and-dry roadmap to becoming a linebacker coach. There are all sorts of paths to take that can lead to that position. However, the common thread of all linebacker coaches is that they have many years of experience in the sports field. Many start as volunteers for charity leagues and can use part of those expenses as deductions on their taxes. Some start as college football coaches.
Most head coaches in the NFL today have multiple years of experience in various coaching capacities. The longest-running head coach today is Bill Belichick, who has been with the New England Patriots for 22 years and has won six Super Bowl titles. The next longest-running coach is Sean Payton, who has been with the New Orleans Saints since 2006. Mike Tomlin has been the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007. The coach with the least experience was the youngest head coach in the National Football League's history, Sean McVay of the LA Rams.
It can be challenging to find the average linebacker coach salary because they're often labeled as assistant coaches or NFL assistant coaches. It's difficult to predict where the market will take the salary of a linebacker coach, but it's safe to say that they'll be making more than enough money. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says spectator sports field coaches make an average of $73,070.
However, a few NFL coaches make nearly as much as the players do, affecting the average salary estimations. Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is the highest-paid NFL coach, making over $12 million annually. Sean Payton of the Saints makes almost $10 million per year, and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens makes a whopping $9 million per year. Andy Reid, coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, makes $8 million a year. Even coaches who have not won Super Bowls make a large annual salary.
Job Growth Trend
There are only 32 teams in the National Football League. As such, there is not anticipated job growth at that level for coaches of any kind. Coaches tend to stay with particular programs for a substantial amount of time. The same holds true for linebacker coaches, though these individuals are not usually as widely recognized as head coaches.
For most other levels of football, there is not a need for more than one linebacker coach per team. As such, there isn't much growth in the industry as a whole. Networking, gaining relevant experience and even being a player on a team can all be good ways to get your foot in the door with a particular football organization.