After what felt like an eternity, the Cincinnati Bengals have finally hired a defensive coordinator.
New York Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo has agreed to terms to lead the Bengals’ defense going forward. Anarumo becomes the third defensive coordinator the Bengals have hired since Mike Zimmer left the organization following the 2013 season.
Before coaching last season in New York, Anarumo spent six seasons coaching the defensive backs for the Miami Dolphins, while also becoming the interim defensive coordinator in the middle of the 2015 season — just seven weeks before Zac Taylor became the interim offensive coordinator.
Taylor and Anarumo coached together for four years in Miami. When Taylor wasn’t brought back for the 2016 season and left for the University of Cincinnati, Anarumo returned to his former position full-time with Vance Joseph hired as the new defensive coordinator.
Daronte Jones, the Bengals cornerbacks coach, was hired by the Dolphins that same offseason as the assistant defensive backs coach to Anarumo. Each coach lasted through the 2017 season before Jones ended up in Cincinnati and Anarumo in New York.
Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, Anarumo established himself as an experienced defensive backs coach with multiple college programs, including an eight-year stint with a power five school that lead to his leap into the next level.
- 1989: Wagner (part-time RB Coach)
- 1990-1991: Syracuse (Graduate Assistant)
- 1992-1994: Merchant Marine Academy (Defensive Coordinator/DB Coach)
- 1995-2000: Harvard (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/DB Coach)
- 2001-2002: Marshall (DB Coach)
- 2003: Marshall (Special Teams Coordinator/DB Coach)
- 2004-2011: Purdue (DB Coach)
- 2012-2014: Miami Dolphins (DB Coach)
- 2015: Miami Dolphins (Interim Defensive Coordinator/DB Coach)
- 2016-2017: Miami Dolphins (DB Coach)
- 2018: New York Giants (DB Coach)
A graduate of Staten Island’s Wagner College, Anaromu began his 30-year coaching career in two opposite locations around Manhattan. He was the part-time running backs coach for both Wagner and then the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1990.
He took a graduate assistant gig with Syracuse in upstate New York before coming back down to Long Island, where he became the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the Merchant Marine Academy for three years.
Anarumo would coordinate a defense again until those 12 weeks with the Dolphins in 2015. After his stint with the Marine Academy, he went to coach at Harvard where he had three titles, including his first opportunity as a special teams coordinator.
From Harvard, he spent three years with Marshall as their special teams coordinator in his first year and defensive backs coach for all three years.
In 2004, he was hired by Purdue to be their defensive backs coach and stuck with the program all the way through the 2011 season. Purdue ended having two defensive backs that played under Anarumo turn into drafted prospects: Bernard Pollard and Ricardo Allen.
Now entering his eighth year in the NFL, Anarumo will get the chance to build a defense for the first time in 25 years. He has veteran star power up front in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap (along with Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard) and promising young talent in the secondary in William Jackson and Jessie Bates III.
Yet, this is still the unit that finished second-to-last in weighted DVOA and expected points. This will be a tall order for a first-time coordinator. How Anarumo decides to build around these pieces — specifically at linebacker — will determine how effective his first year as defensive coordinator will end up being.