Colts announce 2023 coaching staff
Mar. 7—INDIANAPOLIS — Shane Steichen's first coaching staff has been finalized, and as expected it is filled with some familiar faces.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and his entire staff will return for their second season with the Indianapolis Colts. Linebackers coach Richard Smith will add the title of run game coordinator, and Brent Jackson — a Tony Dungy Diversity Fellow in 2022 — has been promoted to defensive quality control coach.
Wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne is the only offensive coach returning.
"Excited about Reggie," Steichen said during last week's NFL Scouting Combine. "Reggie, obviously, 14-year playing career, a legend for Indianapolis. Had some very good conversations with Reggie, very detailed, brings (a) great wealth of knowledge into that receiver room."
The new additions to the staff begin with a pair of coordinators. Jim Bob Cooter will run the offensive meeting room, and Brian Mason will be in charge of special teams.
Cooter was an offensive assistant in Indianapolis from 2009-11, working with Peyton Manning during his final three seasons with the franchise.
Cooter rejoined Manning in Denver for the 2013 season and left to become the quarterbacks coach for the Detroit Lions under former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. Cooter was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2015 and spent five total seasons working with Matthew Stafford in Detroit.
He coached running backs for two seasons with the New York Jets beginning in 2019 then joined Steichen with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021 for Jalen Hurts' first full season as the starting quarterback.
In 2022, Cooter was the passing game coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars — helping quarterback Trevor Lawrence make a big second-year jump.
"Jim Bob has had a lot of success in this league," Steichen said. "He obviously started in the league being around Peyton Manning for a while, then he had success with Stafford in Detroit and then obviously this previous year with Lawrence in Jacksonville.
"So, his expertise with the quarterback, the way he sees the game, the preparation he puts into it — I got to spend a year with him in 2021 in Philly and really get to know him as a person, see how he saw the game. That's where we created that relationship. I have no doubt in my mind that he's going to do a phenomenal job for us."
Mason is a Zionsville native who was the special teams coordinator at Notre Dame last season. Prior to that, he spent four years at the University of Cincinnati and was a graduate assistant at Ohio State, Purdue and Kent State.
Tony Sparano Jr. comes over from the New York Giants to coach the offensive line, and DeAndre Smith will be the running backs coach after holding the same position with the Giants.
Smith previously worked with Steichen for one season at UNLV in 2009. He's also had stops at Texas Tech, Utah State, North Carolina, Purdue, Syracuse, New Mexico, Illinois, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois and Indiana State.
Sparano has worked for the Carolina Panthers, Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins after getting his start with the defunct Hartford Colonials in a previous iteration of the USFL. Sparano's father, Tony, was a long-time NFL offensive line coach and a head coach with the Dolphins for four seasons.
Tom Manning returns as tight ends coach after serving in the same position for Indianapolis in 2018. Manning served as the offensive coordinator at Iowa State before and after his previous stint with the Colts and was a two-time all-conference selection as a left tackle at Mount Union, where he helped win a pair of NCAA Div. III national championships.
Cam Turner, the nephew of Norv Turner — who gave Steichen his first job in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers — will serve as the quarterbacks coach. He has 10 years of NFL coaching experience, including the last five with the Arizona Cardinals. Turner was the Cardinals' passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.
Brian Bratton (quality control/wide receivers), Joe Hastings (assistant special teams), T.J. Ingels (assistant to the head coach), Cato June (assistant linebackers), Ron Milus (defensive backs), Mike Mitchell (assistant defensive backs), Nate Ollie (defensive line), Matt Raich (assistant defensive line) and Chris Watt (assistant offensive line) round out the coaching staff.
The entire strength and conditioning staff — Rusty Jones (director of sports performance), Richard Howell (head strength and conditioning coach), Zane Fakes (assistant strength and conditioning coach), Sam Khym (functional movement therapist/conditioning) and Doug McKenney (applied sports science/conditioning) — also returns.
The Colts will announce the 2023 Dungy Diversity Fellows — one each on offense and defense — later in the year.
"Obviously, it was a process," Steichen said of assembling his first coaching staff. "You always have guys in mind as you're going through it. You have your list of guys and certain guys you try to get, but obviously you have to go through the interview process. You have to vet guys. You've got to do everything you can, turn over every rock to get the best staff possible."