Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Lewis fills all but one coaching slot

Eagles' assistant to coordinate Bengals defense

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SAN DIEGO - Marvin Lewis announced 14 members of his coaching staff Tuesday, including a new defensive coordinator and five new position coaches.

Former Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Leslie Frazier, who coached three of his position players to the NFC Pro Bowl team this season, was hired as Bengals defensive coordinator.

"Their guys have played outstanding football," Lewis said of Frazier's Eagles. "My attraction is the style of defense they have played, and I think this is going to be an outstanding fit."

Frazier, 43, becomes the first African-American coordinator in the Bengals' 35-year franchise history. He played five seasons as a Bears cornerback - all under fabled defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, whom Frazier called a major coaching influence.

"The fact that Marvin is head coach, someone who has been successful, someone who does his homework, the situation in Cincinnati is not much different than it was in Philadelphia four years ago," Frazier said Tuesday.

Lewis also announced that Bob Bratkowski was rehired as offensive coordinator and Paul Alexander was rehired as offensive line coach and given the additional title of assistant head coach.

"It was important to me to get Paul back," Lewis said. "Paul had some options around the league, and we've given him the opportunity now as assistant head coach to assist me in a lot of areas off and on the field, which will help give me some direction."

In addition to Bratkowski and Alexander, Lewis retained four members of Dick LeBeau's 2002 staff: running backs coach Jim Anderson, defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, offensive assistant Bob Surace and defensive assistant Louie Cioffi, who was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach.

Beside Frazier, the new hires are quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, wide receivers coach Alex Wood, defensive line coach Jay Hayes, linebackers coach Ricky Hunley, special teams coach Darrin Simmons, strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton and assistant strength and conditioning coach Kurtis Shultz.

A conditioning program will start March 24, Lewis said, and a minicamp will be held before the April 26-27 draft.

"I wanted them to have the energy that you've got to bring to this job," Lewis said of his staff. "You've got to have a passion and you have to have a degree of expertise."

The only staff position not yet filled is tight ends coach. John Garrett, tight ends coach in 2002, is expected to move to the scouting department, and Lewis said he has interviewed former Bengals tight end Rodney Holman for that spot. Holman had been assistant strength and conditioning coach for two seasons.

Bratkowski, who has spent two seasons with the Bengals, had a hand in hiring Wood as wide receivers coach. Zampese was Lewis' hire.

"We have a good mix of people who have coached other places with people who give us continuity," Bratkowski said of the new staff.

Bratkowski said the retention of Alexander and Anderson means the offenses does not have to "go back to basics."

Lewis, the Bengals' first African-American coach, is the third currently in the league, joining Indianapolis' Tony Dungy and the New York Jets' Herman Edwards. Five of Lewis' hires are African-American, bringing to six the number of black assistants on his staff.


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