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Steve Mariucci (born November 4, 1955) is a former National Football League coach. He coached for the San Francisco 49ers and most recently for the Detroit Lions.

Early career

Mariucci was born and raised in Iron Mountainmarker, Michiganmarker, and was a three-time All-America (Division II) quarterback at Northern Michigan Universitymarker (NMU) in Marquettemarker. In 1975, he quarterbacked NMU to the NCAA Division II National Football Championship.

He began his coaching career at his alma mater (1978–79), and moved to Cal State Fullertonmarker (1980–82) and Louisvillemarker (1983–84). Mariucci's first pro position was as a receivers coach for the USFL's Orlando Renegades in 1985. Later that fall, he had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Rams as quality control coach.

He joined the USCmarker staff in 1986 and then moved to the coaching staff at Californiamarker in 1987. In 1990–91, he served as the Golden Bears' Offensive Coordinator before being appointed as QB coach for the Green Bay Packers.

After four years as quarterback coach for the Green Bay Packers, Mariucci returned to Calmarker as Head Coach in 1996 where the team finished 6-6, including a loss in the Aloha Bowl to the U.S.marker Naval Academymarker.

Coaching career in professional football

Following his season with the Golden Bears, Mariucci was considered a leading candidate for several NFL coaching positions, and was hired to coach the San Francisco 49ers.

Mariucci's 1997 team went 13-3 during the regular season, earning home-field advantage in the NFC. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Playoffs, San Francisco hosted the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, but lost 23-10 in a muddy, rainy contest at Candlestick Parkmarker. The defeat was the 49ers fourth NFC title loss of the 1990s, following losses to the New York Giants in 1990 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. In 1998, the 49ers posted a 12-4 record and returned to the playoffs as a wild card team, but lost 20-18 in the divisional round to the eventual NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. Two losing seasons followed, but in 2001, the 49ers returned to the playoffs after a 12-4 season, once again to be eliminated by the Packers.

Mariucci's final season in San Francisco was 2002. The 49ers won the NFC West with a 10-6 record and beat the New York Giants in a controversial wild-card game, posting the second-biggest comeback playoff victory in NFL history. However, they were crushed 31-6 by the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round. On January 15, 2003, the 49ers fired Mariucci, reportedly after the coach lost a power struggle with general manager Terry Donahue. As San Francisco's coach, he compiled a 60-43 (.583) record, while his teams earned playoff berths four times.

Mariucci was named the Lions' 22nd head coach on February 4, 2003, and was fired on November 28, 2005. He compiled a disappointing 15-28 record during that span. The decision to fire Mariucci came after a 27-7 loss on national television on Thanksgiving Day to the Atlanta Falcons.

During the Brett Favre/Green Bay Packers dispute throughout the 2008 off season, Favre discredited the Packers for not interviewing Mariucci for their head coaching job in 2006. Mariucci, who previously worked with Favre, was figured to be a great candidate for the West Coast Offense style played in Green Bay.

Mariucci is one of thirteen head coaches since the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970 to lead his team to a division title in his first season. Mariucci established an NFL mark for consecutive wins by a rookie head coach with an 11-game winning streak.

During coverage for NFL Combine, he had been mocked for cutting Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner.

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SFO 1997 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Green Bay Packers in NFC Championship Game.
SFO 1998 12 4 0 .750 2nd in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Atlanta Falcons in Divisional Playoffs.
SFO 1999 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC West - - - -
SFO 2000 6 10 0 .375 4th in NFC West - - - -
SFO 2001 12 4 0 .750 2nd in NFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Green Bay Packers in Wild card game.
SFO 2002 10 6 0 .625 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Divisional playoffs.
SFO Total 57 39 0 .594 3 4 .429
DET 2003 5 11 0 .313 4th in NFC North - - - -
DET 2004 6 10 0 .375 3rd in NFC North - - - -
DET 2005 4 7 0 .364 3rd in NFC North - - - -
DET Total 15 28 0 .349 - - -
Total 72 67 0 .518 3 4 .429


After coaching

Since being fired by the Detroit Lions, Mariucci has not returned to coaching. He has since been hired by NFL Network to work on their show NFL GameDay. Many speculated that Mariucci would be considered for the head coaching position at Michigan Statemarker after the dismissal of John L. Smith. However, Mark Dantonio was hired to replace Smith.Mariucci had been a prospective coach to replace Karl Dorrell at UCLAmarker but such assertions were dismissed with the hiring of Ravens Offensive Coordinator and UCLA alumnus, Rick Neuheisel. He was also speculated to be in talks with the Washington Redskins, who have hired West Coast-style offense personnel since Joe Gibbs' second retirement. However, the Redskins named former Seahawks' QB coach Jim Zorn as the Head Coach.

References

  1. CNNSI.com - Pro Football - 49ers release Mariucci from contract - Thursday January 16, 2003 02:42 PM
  2. Is Wonderlic test football relevant?
  3. Steve Mariucci Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks - Pro-Football-Reference.com
  4. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/redskinsinsider/2008/01/something_to_chew_on.html
  5. http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80699cf6


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