IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys made their expected move to hire special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia official on Wednesday, five days after he left his post at Auburn.
Bisaccia spent the last 11 seasons as an NFL special teams coach, including the previous two years with the Chargers. He's also got history with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, having spent nine seasons with Tampa Bay after joining the team as a special teams coach the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2002.
"Rich has been among the top special teams coordinators in the NFL for the last decade," head coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. "He combines a tremendous amount of expertise to go along with outstanding teaching ability. His enthusiasm and passion for the game are infectious, and his units play with a relentless spirit that we believe is so important."
Bisaccia coached for four seasons with Marinelli and seven seasons with Kiffin while in Tampa Bay. He added the title of associate head coach and running backs coach in 2008, before spending his final two years as the Buccaneers' associate head coach and special teams coach.
He also has a brief history with Garrett, who was a backup quarterback with the Bucs in 2004.
"I have had a chance to be around him and see firsthand how significant his impact can be in such a critical part of the game," Garrett said. "We're fortunate to be able to add him to our staff."
The Chargers stayed near the league average in punt return and kick return yardage the last two seasons. The Buccaneers performed much better returning punts than kickoffs early during Bisaccia's tenure in Tampa Bay, but they broke out across all special teams units in 2009, leading the NFL with six blocked kicks and 26.3 yards per kickoff return, while allowing just 19.1 yards per return.
The Cowboys excelled at punt returns last season after settling on Dwayne Harris, who averaged 16.1 yards per return, but ranked just 29th in kickoff returns. They also lost a fumble on the opening kickoff against the Seahawks and had a punt blocked shortly thereafter in the same game.
The move for Bisaccia, who coached in the college ranks for 19 years prior to joining Tampa Bay, brings the Cowboys a step closer to obtaining a full staff. He'll have to decide whether to retain assistant special teams and kicking coach Chris Boniol, and Garrett still needs to fill the coaching positions for running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.