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Chris Palmer
Hartford Colonials
Head Coach
Personal information
Date of birth: September 23, 1949 (1949-09-23) (age 60)
Place of birth: Brewster, New York
Career information
College: Southern Connecticut State
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards

Chris Palmer (born September 23, 1949 in Brewster, New York) is the head coach of the Hartford Colonials in the United Football League, and also a former American football head coach of the Cleveland Browns and former assistant coach of the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and Houston Oilers of the National Football League. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.


High school and college

Palmer played high school football at Immaculate High School a small Catholic high school located in Danbury, Connecticut. After high school he attended and played at Southern Connecticut State University. Palmer played quarterback for Southern Connecticut State from 1968-71. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SCSU, where he was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Hall of Fame at New Haven and Immaculate High School.

After graduation from Southern Connecticut State University, Palmer coached under Larry Naviaux at the University of Connecticut. While at UCONN, Palmer also devoted his time to help develop sports talent, as quoted by Jeff Naviaux "Chris helped me learn the importance of a team". Palmer coached the freshman defensive line in 1972 and the varsity wide receivers in 1973 and 74. In 1975, he became the wide receivers coach at Lehigh University. The following year, Palmer was named the offensive coordinator at Colgate University, where he stayed for seven years. In 1977, the Red Raiders led the nation in total offense with an average of 486 yards a game.

Prior to entering the NFL, Palmer was a successful college coach. He was the head coach at Boston University in 1988-89 and at the University of New Haven in 1986-87, when the Chargers posted consecutive 8-2 records.

Initial professional coaching experience

Palmer’s first professional coaching experience came in 1983, when he was the offensive line coach for the Montreal Concordes in the Canadian Football League. The following year, he coached the wide receivers for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. In 1985, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. That year, Palmer’s offense featured quarterback Doug Flutie and running back Herschel Walker, who rushed for 2,411 yards.

Houston Oilers

Palmer’s first NFL coaching experience was as the Houston Oilers wide receivers coach from 1990-92 when Kevin Gilbride was the Houston offensive coordinator. During those three seasons, the Run ‘N Shoot Oilers had the NFL’s most productive passing attack. Four Houston wide receivers – Curtis Duncan, Ernest Givens (twice), Drew Hill and Haywood Jeffires (twice) made the Pro Bowl while being coached by Palmer.

New England Patriots

Palmer first worked under Bill Parcells as the New England Patriots wide receivers coach from 1993-95. In 1996, he became the quarterbacks coach, where he worked with Drew Bledsoe as they advanced to Super Bowl XXXI.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Following Super Bowl XXXI, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, spending the 1997-98 seasons as offensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin.

Cleveland Browns

Palmer became the head coach of the reborn Cleveland Browns for the 1999-2000 seasons, the first two for the "new" Browns after the original team had moved to Baltimore. With a roster full of inexperienced players and cast-offs from other franchises, Palmer struggled to get the team competitive, especially on offense. Palmer was fired after posting a 5-27 record in two seasons, and was succeeded by former University of Miami coach Butch Davis.

Houston Texans

In 2002, he became the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans under head coach Dom Capers. He remained with Houston until he was fired in Week 2 of the 2005 NFL season as a result of Houston's lackluster offense.

Dallas Cowboys

In January 2006, several months after his firing from Houston, Palmer was hired by the Dallas Cowboys to be the quarterbacks coach. He was reunited with head coach Bill Parcells and quarterback Drew Bledsoe whom he had worked with during his days with the New England Patriots.

New York Giants

In January 2007, Palmer was hired by the New York Giants as their new quarterbacks coach, reuniting with the team's head coach, Tom Coughlin, whom he worked with in Jacksonville.[1][2]

On January 29, 2010 Palmer announced his retirement.[3]

Hartford Colonials

Following his retirement from the NFL, Palmer was named as the head coach and general manager of the United Football League's Hartford Colonials.[4]

Coaching tree

NFL head coaches under whom Chris Palmer has served:

Assistant coaches under Chris Palmer who became NFL head coaches:


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kevin Gilbride
Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Tom Coughlin
(simultaneously serving as Head Coach)
Preceded by
Bill Belichick
Cleveland Browns Head Coaches
Succeeded by
Butch Davis
Preceded by
Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Joe Pendry (interim)
Preceded by
Ted Cottrell (as New York Sentinels)
Hartford Colonials Head Coach
Succeeded by


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