Titans hire Mike Vrabel for head coaching job

Titans new head coach Mike Vrabel (c) with Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and Titans GM Jon Robinson. (photo: Gary Glenn)

When the Titans went searching for their next head football coach earlier this week, they were looking for a ‘leader of men.’

The organization has found that guy in Mike Vrabel.

Titans and Vrabel have agreed to terms on a contract to make him the team’s new head coach. Vrabel, who served as defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans last season, is scheduled to be introduced at a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Vrabel was one of three candidates to interview for the job after the team parted ways with Mike Mularkey on Monday. The Titans interviewed Vrabel on Thursday in Nashville.

“I am excited to have Mike Vrabel joining our organization as our new head coach,” said Titans Controlling Owner Amy Adams Strunk said. “In the interaction between Mike and Jon (Robinson) during the interview, you could see their connection right away from the history they have with one another—seeing the game in a similar way and talking the same language. Mike has a commanding presence and a deep knowledge for how he will attack this head coaching opportunity. Throughout his football career, he has played for, been mentored by and coached with successful teams and organizations. He knows what it takes to reach that level of sustained success. He has seen it first-hand. We have a chance to build on the solid foundation that we established over the past couple of years, and I believe Mike is the right person to continue that progress.”

Vrabel, 42, has a great reputation in football because of his leadership qualities. From his playing days in college and the NFL to his time as an assistant coach, those around him have raved about his presence, and how others respond to him.

“This is an incredible opportunity and one I have been preparing for my entire football life,” said Vrabel. “I want to thank Amy, Jon and the entire Titans organization for putting their faith in me. I am excited to get to work and that work starts now. We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness.

Everything we do is going to be geared towards winning and being physical. We want to prepare our players so they know what to do, which will allow them to play fast and aggressive.”

Vrabel learned from one of the best in the game while playing for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in New England for eight seasons. He also played for the Steelers under coach Bill Cowher. He’s worked under Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, and Houston head coach Bill O’Brien.

Robinson, hired as the team’s general manager in January 2016 after spending time with the Patriots and Buccaneers in the NFL, knows Vrabel from his days in New England.

“I have always had a great deal of respect for Mike as a player and as a coach,” Robinson said. “I saw him up close as a player for the Patriots and saw how he prepared himself to be successful on a daily basis. He was the ultimate team-first player and he embodies that same mindset as a coach. He is intelligent, energetic, detailed and a leader whose deep passion for this game will resonate with our players. As a coach, I have seen him develop talent at both the college and NFL level, and put players in position for them to be successful. I am excited to get him in front of our team and watch us grow together as a team.”

At the start of the search, Robinson was clear when asked what he was looking for in the team’s next head coach.

“Leader of men,” Robinson said. “Obviously, the things that are stamped out there on those pillars, team-first, detailed, tough, dependable. One that’s going to, like I said, maximize the abilities of the players in all three phases of the game.”

Vrabel served as defensive coordinator with the Texans last season after serving as linebackers coach from 2014-16 with the team.
Prior to that he coached at Ohio State, where he served as defensive line coach (2012-13) and linebackers coach.

Vrabel played 14 NFL seasons with the Steelers (1997-2000), Patriots (2001-2008) and Chiefs (2009-2010).