PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Colts on Monday hired John Fox, who has 40 years of coaching experience, as senior defensive assistant.
Fox brings to Indianapolis 16 years of head coaching experience spent with the Carolina Panthers (2002-2010), Denver Broncos (2011-2014) and Chicago Bears (2015-2017). He also served as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (1994-1995) and New York Giants (1997-2001), and had several stops in college and the NFL as a defensive backs coach dating back to the late 1970's.
Head coach Frank Reich said Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting he and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley interviewed several candidates with impressive resumes and decided Fox was the best fit for what they hope to accomplish with the coaching role.
"Really excited about John Fox, you know, bringing in a guy with his resume — what he's accomplished, the people who he's been with and coached with, the systems that he coached I think will be a great complement to this," Reich said. "Our goal with John coming in is not for him to bring his system to us, it's for him to come in and learn our system but then to contribute some of his experience and how it can fit with Gus' system and with our system."
Reich said the role of senior defensive assistant is one he "really wanted to hire," and likened Fox's position to the work Press Taylor did as a senior offensive assistant in 2021 (Taylor was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator earlier this year).
Fox will be tasked with not only helping Bradley continue to evolve his defense – which has grown plenty since the nascent days of the "Hawk 3" in Seattle – but to also put a seed of doubt into opposing offenses, Reich said. Reich pointed to Fox's experience coaching and deploying plenty of quarters coverages over his decades in the NFL.
"You're always looking to stay one step ahead," Reich said.
Fox began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at San Diego State, his alma mater, in 1978. From there, he served as a defensive backs coach at U.S. International (1979), Boise State (1980), Long Beach State (1981), Utah (1982), Kansas (1983), Iowa State (1984) and the USFL's Los Angeles Express (1985). He served as Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1986-1988 before making the jump to the NFL as the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive backs coach from 1989-1991. Fox joined the San Diego Chargers in 1992 as defensive backs coach before getting his first shot as defensive coordinator in 1994 with the Raiders.
Over his tenure as a defensive coordinator and head coach, Fox's defenses ranked in the NFL top 10 in points allowed 11 times, first in 1995 with the Raiders and last in 2017 with the Bears.