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Fox Takes the Reins

Posted Jan 13, 2011

On Thursday, John Fox agreed to terms to become the 14th head coach in Denver Broncos history.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With an eye on bouncing back after a 4-12 season in 2010, the Broncos have turned to a coach with a track record of doing exactly that.

On Thursday, John Fox agreed to terms to become the 14th head coach in Denver Broncos history.

"I am very thankful to (Owner and CEO) Pat Bowlen and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) John Elway for giving me the opportunity to coach a football team with such a proud tradition," Fox said. "The Broncos have a culture of winning, and I am excited to continue that legacy.

"I can't wait to get to work, pushing our players to be the best they can be and representing this community as head coach of the Denver Broncos."

The man who took over a 1-15 Carolina Panthers club in 2002 and two years later led the team to the Super Bowl has a chance at a similar turnaround in Denver.

"It was very similar, a second (overall) pick, much the same situation," Fox told reporters at Denver International Airport before heading to Dove Valley for his initial interview. "I think I have a blueprint that we executed in Carolina, and I don't see any reason why it can't work here in Denver."

Fox's first year in Carolina resulted in a six-win improvement, and the team's run to Super Bowl XXXVIII the following season put the head coach in select company -- he joined Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcells as the only coaches in NFL history to inherit a one-win team and lead it to the playoffs two years later.

In his first eight seasons in Carolina, the Panthers averaged nearly nine wins a season, including three years with 11 or more wins. By the end of his nine-year tenure, he was the winningest head coach in Panthers history and had led the team to three playoff appearances, one NFC Championship, two NFC South titles, two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. His ninth season ended with a 2-14 record and his overall mark as a head coach stands at 73-71.

The Panthers won five playoff games under Fox, including four consecutive on the road, which tied Tom Landry's record as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Eleven Panthers made the Pro Bowl under Fox's tutelage.

"Coach Fox is a great fit for us not only with his coaching ability but also with his personality -- he's a dynamic and proven leader," Elway said via Twitter. "He's coached great defenses, turned teams around and been to Super Bowls. We couldn't be more excited to have him lead our football team."

Fox described himself as extremely competitive, passionate and enthusiastic, and said he hopes to be able to inject that attitude into Dove Valley alongside Elway.

"Much like I think as I watched John (Elway) and his dad in their careers, both in coaching and in playing, I have that same shared passion, and I think it's a good match," Fox said prior to his interview.

The Broncos' newest head coach said he is excited about the prospect of working with Elway and General Manager Brian Xanders to come to the best conclusions for the team.

"I had that relationship with (Panthers General Manager) Marty Hurney for nine years, and I think it's imperative that you do that," Fox said. "You've got to be arm-in-arm. You can't have egos involved -- who gets the credit, who gets the blame -- it's shared amongst the top and that's how you go about your business."

Prior to coaching in Carolina, Fox served as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 1997-2001. With Fox at the defensive helm, the Giants notched 230 sacks, which ranked third in the NFL during that stretch. In addition, New York amassed 153 takeaways, resulting in a plus-25 turnover differential that ranked third in the NFC and fourth in the NFL over the period. His defense helped pave the way to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV against the Baltimore Ravens by shutting out an offensive-minded Minnesota Vikings team in the NFC Championship game.

His previous coaching experience includes 12 more positions in a 17-year span, which began in 1978 when he was a graduate assistant at San Diego State University and went on to include positions with four other NFL teams.

"I've been doing it," Fox told reporters of his coaching history. "I have a plan, whether it's a bye week schedule, a training camp schedule. It's not my first rodeo, so to speak. So, I think I do have a blueprint to do it. We've had success, some years more than others. But the full body of work I think holds a blueprint for success."

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