The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Thursday that they've officially promoted linebacker Paul Guenther into the vacant position of defensive coordinator when Mike Zimmer departed to become the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
"Paul has been Zim’s right-hand man the last few years, so we’re moving in the direction of keeping a good thing going with our defense," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He knows what we do and how we do it, and he had a hand in creating it. Paul and I have been mostly together since when we were both on the Redskins staff (in 2002). I’ve seen him grow over the years and really have sort of been grooming him for this kind of opportunity."
The 42-year-old Guenther is a native of Richboro, Pa. He played LB from 1990-93 at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. and coached in the college ranks for seven seasons before entering the NFL. He was the youngest head coach in college football in 1997, when at age 25 he took the reins at Ursinus for a tenure that would last four seasons and include two playoff berths. He joined the NFL with Washington in 2002.
Guenther joined the Bengals in 2005. Before taking over the LB coach position, he worked primarily as an assistant position coach with LBs, special teams and/or defensive backs.
"I’m obviously very excited about this opportunity," Guenther said. "I like the players we have and what we’ve already done to get a good defensive team in place. I’m looking forward to working with all of them, in a new role for me, and continuing to improve us and make us better.
"I want to thank Mike Brown and Marvin for all they’ve done for me over the years and now for this chance. And I also want to thank Zim for working with me so closely and helping me become a better coach."