Rex hires brother for Bills: A look at family coaching trees

AN APRIL 9, 2014 FILE PHOTOJonathan Bachman/AP

Former Jets head coach and current Bills head coach Rex Ryan has hired his brother, Rob, as assistant head coach for defense.

Sometimes a little nepotism goes a long way.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan hired his brother, Rob, as assistant head coach for defense on Sunday. Rob was fired as the Saints’ defensive coordinator in November.

“I’m excited to have Rob join our staff, and I think he will be a great asset for our defense,” Rex Ryan said in a statement.

It’ll be a reunion 20 years in the making for the brothers, who have not coached together on the same staff since 1995 when they were both assistants with the Arizona Cardinals. Their father, Buddy, was the head coach at the time.

The Ryans aren’t the only clan to provide some hiring help for familiar faces. Here are other family members who have coached on the same staff.

Mike and Kyle Shanahan

As the offensive coordinator for Washington, Kyle was calling the plays for his father’s team.

Washington head coach Mike Shanahan hired his son, Kyle, as the offensive coordinator.Evan Vucci /AP

Washington head coach Mike Shanahan hired his son, Kyle, as the offensive coordinator.

Mike Shanahan was the head coach in 2012 when Washington drafted Robert Griffin III, and his son was tasked with transitioning the former Heisman winner into an NFL quarterback.

Though it worked his rookie season, Griffin has battled injuries and lost his starting job this year. Both Shanahans parted ways with Washington in 2013.

Brian and Marty Schottenheimer

After spending two years coaching wide receivers and tight ends on the collegiate level, Brian Schottenheimer returned to the NFL as a quarterbacks coach under his dad.


Marty and Brian Schottenheimer coached together for one season in Washington.

Marty was the head man for Washington at the time, and his brother, Kurt, was the defensive coordinator.

The Schottenheimers only lasted one year together in Washington, before Marty and Brian jumped coasts to the San Diego Chargers staff.

Don and Donnie Nelson

Donnie’s relationship with his father was a turbulent one.

Don left the family in 1982 when Donnie was 19 — he and wife Sharon divorced in 1989 — but they have since worked things out by coaching side by side for the Dallas Mavericks.

After spending five years as a bench assistant to his dad, Mark Cuban promoted Donnie to president of basketball operations.


Don and Donnie Nelson rekindled their father-son relationship when they coached side by side on the Mavericks bench.

“Are you my boss now?” Don Nelson joked after the move was made in 2002.

Pete and Nate Carroll

Both father and son have experienced back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Both had to suffer the crushing blow of what could have been last year.

Nate Carroll has been with the Seahawks for four years and is now an assistant wide receivers coach. This season, he was joined by his older brother, Brennan Carroll, on Seattle’s staff. Brennan is making his NFL debut as an assistant offensive line coach.

Jim and Jim Mora

Not to be confused with his father of the same name, Jim L. Mora is currently the head football coach at UCLA. But he got his start in various roles for the San Diego Chargers before being hired by his father.


Though they have also coached against one another, Jim and Jim Mora worked together with the New Orleans Saints.

The Moras coached together in New Orleans from 1992-1996, with Jim L. Mora serving as his father’s secondary coach.

Mike and Dan D’Antoni

Dan D’Antoni has worked as an assistant coach under his younger brother, Mike, following him through stints with three different NBA teams.

After Mike resigned as head coach of the Knicks in 2012, Dan respectfully stepped down and soon became an assistant under his brother for the Lakers.

Dan is the current head coach for the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team.

Bill and Steve Belichick

Bill Belichick learned much of what he knows from his own father, legendary scout and coach Steve Belichick.


Bill Belichick celebrates a Super Bowl victory with his children, including his son, Steve, who is an assistant with the Patriots.

Now Bill’s own son, named after his grandfather, is fulfilling that same legacy. Steve is in his fourth year as a coaching assistant with the Patriots after playing lacrosse at Rutgers.

“The opportunity to be with him on a daily basis, see him and work with him and watch him grow and mature — it’s awesome,” Belichick told last season.

Monte and Lane Kiffin

It’s not often a son gets to tell his dad what to do.

Monte Kiffin had the unique opportunity of working underneath his son, who was the head coach at Tennessee.Wade Payne/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Monte Kiffin had the unique opportunity of working underneath his son, who was the head coach at Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin had that luxury as the head coach first for Tennessee and then at USC, where his old man was the assistant head coach. The Kiffins arrived in Southern Cal at the same time, in 2010, and lasted three seasons in their respective roles. The Trojans lost the Sun Bowl under the father-son duo in 2012.

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