California State University East Bay

Oakland Raiders find their coach

January 22, 2015

Illustration | Brittany England

Illustration | Brittany England

The Oakland Raiders finally found the right guy to lead the team back to prominence, they think.

On Friday the Raiders hired fomer Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to fill their vacant head coaching position after Dennis Allen was fired just five games into the season.

However, this is more then just a trendy hire, Del Rio is an East Bay native and was born and raised in Hayward.

Del Rio went to Hayward High School where he was a two-sport standout and dominated the football and baseball field. His parents have held season tickets for the silver and black since Del Rio was a child and his family has always been fans of the Oakland franchise.

“This is truly a dream come true,” Del Rio said. “To come home to the Bay Area and coach the team I grew up rooting for is huge for me and my family.”
Since 2003, the Raiders have been one of the worst organizations in the National Football League. There have been six different head coaches since the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and their record reflects it. Oakland is 56-136 over the past 12 seasons, while team owner Mark Davis is confident the organization hired the right person to turn the team around.

“This is the guy we wanted there is no doubt about that,” Davis said. “He knows what the Oakland Raiders represent and we are confident he can inject the mystique and success back into this team.”

Del Rio didn’t waste any time and already began to fill the bare cabinet of coaches left in Oakland. Del Rio hired former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice to handle the offensive line for the Raiders. Tice was solid as a player in the NFL and the head coaching experience he brings to Oakland should help revamp the porous play of the big uglies up front.

Del Rio was also a head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars where he turned around a defense that was abysmal before he got there and made them a dominant force at times.

For Del Rio the hard part of this job is not going to be hiring coaches, drafting players, or acquiring free agents since these are all things he proved he could do at a high level. The problem is going to be bringing back the stigma that surrounds the team.

Teams and players used to fear Oakland, not just for their rough borderline illegal play but also because of the raucous atmosphere, fans, and area the stadium is in.

There used to be a distinct feeling of fear for the opposition when they had to play the Raiders, but that is all gone now and it needs to be revived.

That was the key to all of the success for the franchise and if Del Rio wants to take this team to the upper echelon of the league, he needs to connect all the history and community to a team that has lost a sense of who they used to be.

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