A defensive coordinator is a coach responsible for a gridiron football (American football) team's defense. Generally, the defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator represent the second level of a team's command structure, with the head coach being the first level. The primary role of the defensive coordinator is managing the roster of defensive players, overseeing the assistant coaches, developing the defensive game plan, and calling plays for the defense during the game. The defensive coordinator typically manages multiple assistant coaches, each of whom are responsible for various defensive positions on the team (such as the defensive line, linebackers, or defensive backs).
While the job of defensive coordinator is largely similar at the collegiate and professional level, college coaches are more involved in the recruitment process. A successful defensive coordinator is often a stepping stone to the position of head coach.
Other major sports with strong delineation between offensive and defensive positions use similar coaching positions. For example: Phil Housley served as a defensive coordinator for the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators from 2013 to 2017 and currently fills the same role with the Arizona Coyotes.
- List of active National Football League defensive coordinators
- American football strategy
- Formation (American football)
- "The Coaching Staff in American Football," Dummies.com. Retrieved: 6 October 2014.
- Bove, Matt (June 15, 2017). "Bove: Housley – the perfect fit for the Sabres". WKBW. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
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- Brooks, Bucky. "Wade Phillips, Vic Fangio among top 10 defensive coordinators". NFL.com. NFL.com. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- Kenyon, David. "10 Best Defensive Coordinators in College Football". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- Collins, Geoff. "Interview with Geoff Collins/Co-Defensive Coordinator Mississippi State". www.jobshadow.com. www.jobshadow.com. Retrieved 3 August 2017.