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Five things to know about Broncos' Head Coach Vance Joseph

Posted Jan 11, 2017

Get to know the Broncos' new head coach.

As the Broncos welcome Vance Joseph to Denver, we’ve compiled a list of five things to know about the 16th coach in team history:

1. A state champion

Vance Joseph was a three-year starting quarterback at Archbishop Shaw High School (La.) and led the team to its only state football title. Running the veer, the 15-year-old sophomore quarterback guided his team to an 8-2 regular season and a playoff run that ended in a 14-6 win in the championship game. Joseph still keeps in touch with his high school coach, Hank Tierney.

“I have coached better players than Vance,” Tierney told SportsNola.com. “His brother Mickey was more talented. But even though Vance was not big or fast, he just got the job done.”

2. Talent in the family

Vance isn’t the only talented football player in his family. His older brother, Mickey, was the nation’s No. 1 recruit as an option quarterback and signed with Nebraska. The Cornhuskers’ head coach, Tom Osborne, called Mickey Joseph perhaps “the greatest player I have ever signed at Nebraska.” Mickey scored 21 touchdowns as a junior, but a leg injury derailed his career. He’s served as a coach in several places since, most recently at Louisiana Tech.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Joseph had a brother named Terry. Though Vance has a relative named Terry, his other brother's name is Sammy.

3. Not far from his alma mater

Joseph enrolled at the University of Colorado in 1990, and while Kordell Stewart would later beat him out as a starter, Joseph showed his promise as a coach even then. Colorado’s head coach, Gary Barnett, would later bring Joseph back as an assistant in 1999.

"He was a natural leader as a player and a coach," Barnett said. "He always had a knack for it. He could teach kids how to see things; he could teach them how to do things physically. He had a way of getting their respect. He was just hard enough on them where they knew they couldn't cross the line, but he also related to them really well."

He also backed up Darian Hagan, another All-American. Joseph credits his success as a defensive coach to his time as a quarterback. He told the Texans’ website in 2011 that he can recognize “danger zones” from a defensive perspective.

Joseph was also a teammate of Broncos’ Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell and former Bronco Alfred Williams while at CU.

4. A chance in the NFL

After his CU career, Joseph transitioned to the cornerback spot to play in the NFL. He signed with the Jets after he went undrafted in 1995 and played in 13 games as a rookie. Joseph finished the season with two interceptions — but his first start wasn’t easy, as he gave up 156 yards and two touchdowns to Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown.

“What do I remember most [from that year]?” Joseph told MiamiDolphins.com. “That I wasn’t ready to play. I probably should have been on the practice squad for a whole year. But I was pushed into a starting role early on. And my first start was against Tim Brown. I got baptized pretty good. It was on TNT, Sunday night football, so everyone saw it. That’s my memory about being an NFL corner with the Jets. Not good. I’m a better coach than I was a player, I must admit that.”

Joseph later played in four games for the Colts before he moved on to his coaching career.

5. A family man

Joseph calls his family his “off-the-field passion.” He and his wife, Holly, have a teenage daughter, Nataly, and a young son named Stone. Despite his coaching obligations, he told MiamiDolphins.com that he always tries to make his daughter’s sporting events on Friday nights.