Since it appears Caldwell-to-Pittsburgh was just a smokescreen (possibly to jack up his price to Baltimore, where he will be named the team’s quarterbacks coach), other speculative names pop up as potential replacements for departed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
It’s interesting what one can find with a little bit of research, in particular, a name no one has discussed yet; Colorado QBs coach Rip Scherer.
Scherer has an extensive resume, most notably, working with Cleveland’s Derek Anderson during a season in which the casual observer assumes Anderson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a 2007 Pro Bowl berth. The following season, Scherer left Cleveland for Carolina, where he brought Matt Moore, an unknown, to a pretty successful end of a brutal season for the Panthers.
A coaching change moved Scherer from Charlotte to Boulder, where he works under Jon Embree.
Back in 1996, though, when Scherer was the head coach at Memphis University, he hired a graduate assistant by the name of Mike Tomlin. Scherer inherited a coaching staff in 1995 that included current Steelers linebackers coach (and possible Colts defensive coordinator) Keith Butler. Butler stayed in that position through the 1997 season, and Tomlin left for the wide receivers coach job at Arkansas State that year.
At Arkansas State, Tomlin worked under current Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichter, a Memphis graduate (1993). In 1998, Arkansas State hired Butler as their defensive coordinator, and Tomlin worked that season under him as the defensive backs coach.
The trio separated in 1999, when Tomlin moved to Cincinnati for the defensive backs coach with the Bearcats, Butler was the linebackers coach for the expansion Cleveland Browns under Butch Davis (along with former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and current Colts head coach Chuck Pagano), and Fichtner stayed at Arkansas State.
Fichtner remained in that position through 2000, and was named the offensive coordinator at his alma mater Memphis, as part of a new staff that replaced Scherer in 2001.
At that point, Tomlin moved to Tampa Bay and Scherer was the offensive coordinator at Kansas (2001) and Southern Miss (2002-04). Scherer moved into the NFL with Cleveland (2004-08) then to Carolina (08-10).
Did I mention he was born in Pittsburgh and is the cousin of Steelers GM Kevin Colbert? And that he was a coach at North Carolina State in 1976, when Bill Cowher was a freshman? Interestingly enough, Scherer is also a graduate of William and Mary, just like Tomlin (although Tomlin wasn’t born when Scherer graduated).
If all of these things are a coincidence, then it’s even more bizarre that nearly every coach currently (or recently leaving) the Steelers has ties to either the University of Alabama or Memphis. The coaching fraternity is incestuous, and it seems what you know is less important than who you know.
Fichtner still seems like a logical choice, and InsidePittsburghSports.com speculated Art Rooney II is recommending offensive line coach Sean Kugler for the position. There are still strong connections with Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Maybe Tomlin hates Scherer. However, there was talk about Scherer replacing Mike McCoy, Denver’s offensive coordinator who was a serious candidate for the head coaching job that went to Packers OC Joe Philbin.
It’s hard to keep it all straight, but the fact of the matter is connections are everything, and there are enough to suggest the Steelers may turn over lots of rocks not considered by the fanbase in their search for their first new offensive coordinator since 2007.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
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