Vance Joseph was hired by the Broncos on Wednesday as the 16th head coach in franchise history.
Here are the most important things you need to know about Denver’s 44-year-old replacement for retired Gary Kubiak.
MORE: Will Mike McCoy come with Joseph? 1. He got the job because he worked with Kubiak.
John Elway hired his former backup QB buddy because he had full trust in him, and Kubiak led to the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 win in his first season as coach. Although Joseph was plucked away from his defensive coordinator job with the Dolphins, he did his best resume-building as the Texans’ defensive backs coach from 2011-13, Kubiak’s final three seasons in Houston.
That also timed with the tenure of Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. With Kubiak and Phillips being able to vouch for Joseph’s acumen and ability to relate with players, no other candidate could boast the same recommendation.
2. He is more offensive-minded than you think.
Joseph has coached defense as an assistant in either college or the NFL since 2002, but he was a backup quarterback and running back in college before being converted to a two-year defensive back in the NFL from 1995 to ’96.
He just worked under former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase in Miami and saw what it took to fix an athletic quarterback and light a fire under the power running game. Those are two big priorities for Denver in the offseason.
MORE: Broncos have 4 options at QB 3. He is making a homecoming of sorts.
Joseph grew up in Louisiana, but his football heart already belongs in Colorado. He played for the Buffaloes and got two of his first coaching gigs there. He has done a lot of hard work over seven stops to “graduate” from Boulder to Denver.
4. He isn’t the first African-American to serve as the Broncos’ head coach.
Running backs coach Eric Studesville took over on a interim basis after Josh McDaniels was fired during the 2010 season, leading the team to a 1-3 finish. Joseph is now the sixth full-time African-American head coach currently in the NFL, joining Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Todd Bowles and Hue Jackson.
5. He also has worked for Marvin Lewis and Mike Singletary.
Lewis’ steady demeanor has allowed him to last with the Bengals as the longest-tenured NFL coach after Bill Belichick. Singletary had only a few seasons to prove himself with the 49ers, but Joseph also learned a lot about player-coach relationships from one of the greatest linebackers of all time.
Wherever Joseph has been, the emphasis has been forcing takeaways. With the Broncos, he inherits a strong pressure team with a secondary full of ballhawks. His personality and their talent set him up to be an immediate success.