Dolphins defensive coordinator search: 5 things to know about Anthony Campanile

With Josh Boyer out as Dolphins defensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel’s options include Vic Fangio, Sean Desai and Kris Richard. But there’s also a candidate who’s already on Miami’s staff: linebackers coach Anthony Campanile.

Campanile, 40, just completed his third season with the Dolphins. Here are five things to know about him:

Dolphins defensive coordinator search: 5 things to know about Vic Fangio

Dolphins defensive coordinator search: 5 things to know about Kris Richard

Key doctor backs Dolphins' Chris Grier: Tua Tagovailoa isn't automatically concussion risk

Dolphins linebackers coach Anthony Campanile.
Dolphins linebackers coach Anthony Campanile.

‘The first family of New Jersey football’

Campanile comes from what has been called the first family of New Jersey football.

A little over a year ago, The New York Times determined that 17 of the previous 20 state high school championships in Jersey were coached by Mike Campanile or one of his four sons: Anthony, Nunzio, Mike or Nicky. They have coached on all levels ranging from high school to the NFL since Anthony made the jump from the University of Michigan to the Dolphins in 2020.

A couple of interesting points about the family:

∙ Mike is a natural right-hander but taught himself to play quarterback left-handed. Perhaps that sounds like a certain starting quarterback of the Dolphins.

∙ When Anthony and Nunzio were coaching on the staff at Don Bosco High, the brothers had a disagreement over when to start hitting in preseason, according to The Times. After storming off, Anthony called Nunzio at school and said he wanted to fight. “You know exactly where I am,” Nunzio replied.

∙ Don’t be fooled by that anecdote. The Campaniles call themselves a close family. Anthony went more than a year without being able to see his brothers because of the pandemic. He didn’t even see his parents when the Dolphins played the Jets in Jersey.

Ties to the Dolphins before becoming a Dolphin

Campanile joined the Dolphins’ staff in 2020 under then-coach Brian Flores. Like Flores, Campanile played at Don Bosco and later Rutgers.

Campanile turned down a scholarship at New Hampshire to walk on at Rutgers, where he was a safety and linebacker from 2001-04 despite an early curveball. After one year on the scout team, Campanile was prepping for the 2001 season when another player quit. Suddenly, Campanile found himself as the No. 3 quarterback.

“You know those wristbands they make for the quarterbacks with the plays written on it?” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano told The Star-Ledger. “Do they make one that goes past a guy’s elbow?”

Campanile returned to Rutgers as an assistant coach from 2012-15 in various roles. As receivers coach, one of his proteges was Leonte Carroo, who became the Dolphins’ third-round pick in 2016.

Not just another assistant for Jim Harbaugh

Campanile’s final stop before Miami was spending the 2019 season coaching linebackers at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh. When Campanile left, Harbaugh said they remained friends, although the loss had to sting.

Campanile is among the most personable football coaches you’d ever meet, so it’s no surprise he was considered a top recruiter, especially in the Jersey area. Plus, following the loss of two assistants to rival Ohio State in 2019, Harbaugh wanted to cut his losses.

Campanile’s contract included a clause requiring him to pay Michigan 25 percent of his salary if he left early for another assistant’s job. But if he jumped to a staff within the Big Ten, he had to repay 50 percent. Campanile reportedly had a two-year contract at Michigan paying him $415,000 annually.

Competitive ‘with every particle of your soul’

Athletic families often are wired differently.

When Anthony was a wrestler in junior high, he lost a match. Worse, he put forth what his father, Mike, considered a poor effort.

Mike nailed Anthony’s headgear to a wall inside their home and told Anthony to look at it daily.

Anthony won the rematch.

Mike took the medal and nailed that to the wall.

“If you went hard and lost, he was good,” Anthony told The New York Times. “He wanted you wrestling with every particle of your soul until the ref raised someone’s hand.”

Thought we were going to leave off a section on food? Fuhgettaboutit!

Anyone who has watched Campanile’s availability with Dolphins reporters these past three seasons knew this section was coming.

As much as Campanile loves to talk football, one subject about as high on his list is food.

“I guess that’s my upbringing,” he said. No surprise, Campanile is Italian, meaning holiday dinners are special.

“You’ve got to go Festa dei Sette Pesci,” he said. “You’ve got to have the Seven Fish Dinner for Christmas Eve. That’s like the biggest dinner of the whole year. Forget it. Our family, that was like the biggest day of the year. You’ve got clams, scallops, shrimp, calamari, scungille. Hopefully you’ve got some lobster in there, maybe some Baccala.”

Brother Nunzio recalled to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel a story from Anthony’s college days. He was dating a woman who phoned while the family was sitting down for Sunday dinner at 2 p.m.

Anthony said he’d call back after dinner. She called again at 4:30 and 6:30. Why hadn’t he called?

They weren’t finished until close to 8 p.m.

As for dessert, please, no ice cream. It’s gelato.

“That’s not even close,” Anthony said. “That’s like two different universes right there. Gelato and ice cream. Gelato is like — what are we doing? If you haven’t eaten that, then you haven’t lived.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Dolphins defensive coordinator search: things to know on Anthony Campanile