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Bill Arnsparger      

Bill Arnsparger is a former football coach who was primarily an assistant, but served as head coach at both the professional and collegiate levels.

Bill Arnsparger is a former football coach who was primarily an assistant, but served as head coach at both the professional and collegiate levels.

A native of Paris, Kentucky, Arnsparger attended Paris High School and became connected with the school's longtime football and basketball coach, Blanton Collier. The relationship would have a major impact on his future career.

After serving in the U.S. Marines during World War II, Arnsparger graduated from Miami University in January 1950, then served as an assistant at the school that Fall. On February 21, 1951, he was hired by Ohio State University's new head coach Woody Hayes as the squad's line coach. He served in that capacity until 1954, when he re-connected with Collier, who had been hired as head coach at the University of Kentucky.

Arnsparger remained in the Blue Grass state for the next eight years until Collier was fired on January 2, 1962. During the 1959 season, he was joined on the coaching staff by a young coach who had served at the University of Virginia the previous year. That coach was Don Shula, with the two mentors forging a strong bond that would serve them for much of the next quarter century.

Arnsparger moved on to an assistant position with Tulane University, but, after two years, resigned the post on March 6, 1964 to become defensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts under Shula. That season, the team reached the NFL Championship game and remained one of the strongest teams of the 1960s, competing in Super Bowl III on January 12, 1969.

When Shula left to become head coach with the Miami Dolphins after the end of the 1969 NFL season, he brought along Arnsparger. In just two seasons, the formerly moribund team had reached the Super Bowl, with Arnsparger fashioning what became known as the "No-Name Defense". World championships in each of the next two seasons, including an undefeated season during 1972, made Arnsparger a prime candidate for a head coaching position.

Following the team's 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII, Arnsparger was named head coach of the New York Giants. However, the success he had enjoyed as an assistant evaporated in his new role, with the Giants managing just seven wins in his 35 games. Arnsparger was fired on October 25, 1976, with the team having lost all seven of its games on the year.

Just two days after his dismissal, Arnsparger was rehired by Shula as Miami's assistant head coach in charge of the defense. In the team's first game under his leadership, the Dolphins won a 10-3 defensive battle over the New England Patriots, who had averaged 30 points entering the contest.

Miami finished the 1976 NFL season with a 6-8 mark, then narrowly missed a playoff berth the following season. During the next two seasons, the Dolphins reached the postseason, but dropped their first playoff game. During the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, Miami finally put things together and reached Super Bowl XVII, but dropped a 27-17 decision to the Washington Redskins.

On December 2, 1983, Arnsparger was hired as head coach at Louisiana State University, but finished the season with the Dolphins. Spending three years as Tigers' head coach, Arnsparger led his 1986 squad to the school's first Southeastern Conference title since 1970, as well as a berth in the Sugar Bowl. Shortly after accepting the bid, Arnsparger announced he was resigning to become athletic director at the University of Florida.

In 1989, Arnsparger's new school became embroiled in a series of controversies when it was revealed that head football coach Galen Hall had committed NCAA violations and that two players on his team had admitted gambling on college football games. In addition, questions about the school's men's basketball program also surfaced.

Despite seeing both teams put on probation, Arnsparger was able to extricate himself from the football problem by hiring Duke University head coach and former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier. The appointment set the stage for one of the most successful runs for a program during the 1990s.

On January 13, 1992, Arnsparger resigned to become defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. During his four years, the team's defense showed marked improvement, culminating with an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX. Just days after the team's appearance, Arnsparger announced his retirement, citing the prostate cancer surgery he had undergone the year before.

News


Bill Arnsparger, architect of “No Name” and “Killer B's” defenses ...

Bill Arnsparger was named to the Dolphins Honor Roll for guiding the 'No Name Defense' during its perfect season of 1972.

Bill Arnsparger - Paul Brown Coaching Tree - ESPN

Arnsparger, a longtime Don Shula assistant, served as defensive coordinator for five Super Bowl teams, including the unbeaten 1972 Dolphins.

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