(Editor's Note: Since Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has hired three new assistant coaches and upgraded the responsibilities of four others, DallasCowboys.com will take a look at their duties in a seven-part series. Today's focus will be on safeties coach Mike MacIntyre.)
IRVING, Texas - Mike MacIntyre's been around a while, working mostly with young players, no matter if it's been coaching in college or with the Dallas Cowboys.
And those young players have been mainly defensive backs, a position experience would be most helpful, but one the Cowboys have very little at once again this year.
Nevertheless, MacIntyre embraces the challenge now that he's the safeties coach for the Cowboys, promoted after spending three years with the team as an assistant secondary coach, along with handling the defensive quality control responsibilities.
But to hear him, not much has changed, other than his title.
"I guess the only thing is there might be more criticism if something doesn't go right," MacIntyre said. "I'm held a little more accountable for what the safeties do - it's not like I'm coming in new or anything like that."
With five college coaching jobs to his credit before joining the Cowboys in 2003, MacIntyre was pretty well prepared for what faced him: More youth.
Three Cowboys defensive backs entered that season with a combined four years in the NFL. Thank goodness for veteran safety Darren Woodson. But the next year, with Woodson never playing, landing on physically-unable-to-perform with a back injury, the starters averaged just 2.25 years of NFL experience by season's end.
And now that he's in charge of the safeties, youth still abounds behind last year's starters, Roy Williams and Keith Davis, who by the way, started last season for only the first time in his three-year NFL career.
! Name: Mike MacIntyre
Safeties/Def. Quality Control
Coaching Experience: 16 years
"The younger guys - they're like a sponge, they're just eager to soak up anything you tell them," the 41-year-old MacIntyre said. "So that's very refreshing."
Among the reserve safeties, with 10-year veteran Marcus Coleman working at cornerback for now, Willie Pile is considered the veteran, with all of two years in the NFL. Other than Pile, the Cowboys have four other safeties who have yet to play their first NFL regular-season game - last year's sixth-round pick Justin Beriault the most experienced of the bunch since he at least went through training camp with the team before landing on injured reserve.
MacIntyre came to the Cowboys after a four-year stint at Ole Miss, one of Bill Parcells' many hires in 2003 when he took over the team. Parcells spotted one of his favorite characteristics in MacIntyre: Coaching genes.
George MacIntyre, Mike's father, was a defensive coordinator with the Rebels in 1978 and head coach at Vanderbilt from 1979-85. Plus, Parcells was very familiar with his dad, who was the Vanderbilt secondary coach in 1974 when Parcells was the defensive coordinator on Steve Sloan's staff.
And MacIntyre? He was but an 8-year-old, running around practice with a No. 8 Commodores jersey, that of current Cowboys assistant David Lee, then the Vanderbilt quarterback.
So Parcells brought in MacIntyre. He helped out with the secondary in practice, broke down film, compiled comprehensive weekly scouting reports on opposing teams - their formations, schemes and tendencies based on hours of research and video study.
Now with 16 years of coaching experience, three with the Cowboys and 13 in college, MacIntyre has the opportunity to reap the benefits of his hard work.
"I feel like I've paid my dues so to speak; I've coached for a long time in a college and been a coordinator and done a lot of different things," MacIntyre said.
A lot of different things indeed. Some coaches have an easy road to the NFL, but MacIntyre's was a curvy one, with stopovers in the Canadian Football League and with the Deggendorf Blackhawks, a German football team.
"It's always fun to be rewarded for hard work," MacIntyre said, "so I'm appreciative of that."
Even if he's surrounded - again - by a bunch of youngsters.
(Next: A look at passing game coordinator Todd Haley.)
Next: A look at safeties coach Mike MacIntyre.)