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Tony Sparano
Date of birth October 7, 1961 (1961-10-07) (age 48)
Place of birth West Haven, Connecticut
Position(s) Head Coach
College New Haven
Regular season 18–14
Postseason 0–1
Career record 18–15
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Team(s) as a coach/administrator









New Haven
(Offensive line coach)
Boston University
(Offensive line coach)
Boston University
(Offensive coordinator)
New Haven
(Head coach)
Cleveland Browns
(Off. quality control)
Cleveland Browns
(Offensive line coach)
Washington Redskins
(Tight ends coach)
Jacksonville Jaguars
(Tight ends coach)
Dallas Cowboys
(Offensive line coach)
(Assistant head coach)
Miami Dolphins
(Head coach)

Anthony J. "Tony" Sparano III (born October 7, 1961(1961-10-07), in West Haven, Connecticut) is the current head coach for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. Sparano is the only NFL head coach to lead a one-win team to the playoffs the following year, which he accomplished in his first season with the Dolphins.[1]


Playing career



Sparano was a four-year letterman for Division II University of New Haven, starting at center for the New Haven Chargers and graduating in 1986.[2]

Coaching career


Assistant coach

Sparano began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as New Haven's offensive line coach for four seasons before joining the staff at Division I-AA Boston University. After one year as the team's offensive line coach, Sparano served five seasons as the Terriers' offensive coordinator.

Head coach

Sparano was named New Haven's head coach in 1994, and led the Chargers to two playoff appearances in five seasons. In 1997, New Haven led Division II in offense (42.8 points per game) and finished second in defense (11.6 points allowed per game) en route to a 12–2 record, losing to Northern Colorado in the championship game.[3]

National Football League

Assistant coach

Beginning his NFL career in 1999, Sparano was fired in three staffing purges after brief stints with the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars.[4] Sparano was hired by new Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells in 2003,[5] rising from tight ends coach to assistant head coach in his five seasons in Dallas. Sparano was the offensive play-caller for Dallas in 2006, but ceded the responsibilities to new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett the following season.[6]

Head coach

Miami Dolphins

After firing Cam Cameron following a franchise-worst 1–15 season, the Miami Dolphins and new executive vice president of football operations Parcells hired Sparano to a four-year contract on January 16, 2008.[7]

In his first season, Sparano led the Dolphins to an 11–5 record and the AFC East division title, securing the franchise's first playoff berth in eight seasons before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in a wild-card game. The 10-win turnaround tied an NFL record[8] and Sparano finished one vote behind Atlanta Falcons first-year head coach Mike Smith in balloting for the AP Coach of the Year award.[9]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIA 2008 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Wild-Card Game.
MIA 2009 7 9 0 .436 3rd in AFC East 0 0 .000
Total[10] 18 14 0 .563 0 1 .000

In the media

Tony was featured in a segment of ESPN's SportsCenter where they made light of his name being so close to fictional TV mobster Tony Soprano. Sportscaster Kenny Mayne and Sparano himself reenacted the now infamous final scene of the HBO program The Sopranos. Cameos in the segment were made by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and even by members of the cast of The Sopranos.

Coaching tree

NFL head coaches under whom Tony Sparano has served:


Sparano and his wife, Jeanette, have two sons: Tony and Andrew , both members of the University at Albany (N.Y.) football team[11] and a daughter, Ryan Leigh[12].


  1. ^ "Dolphins still have room to improve after remarkable turnaround". Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  2. ^ "UNH alum hired as head coach of NFL's Miami Dolphins". University of New Haven. 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  3. ^ "New Haven Just a Step from Division II Peak". New York Times. 1997-12-13. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  4. ^ "Tony Sparano Follows Unconventional Path to Become Dolphins' Coach". New York Times. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  5. ^ "Parcells hires three more coaches". New York Times. 2003-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  6. ^ "Garrett will call Cowboys' plays". Dallas Morning News. 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  7. ^ "Dolphins hire Sparano as head coach, replacing Cameron". 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  8. ^ "Miami on pace to tie best turnaround in NFL history". Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  9. ^ "Smith edges Sparano by single vote for AP Coach of the Year". 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  10. ^ Tony Sparano Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -
  11. ^ University at Albany football roster
  12. ^ Miami Dolphins Bio

External links

Preceded by
Cam Cameron
Miami Dolphins Head Coach
Succeeded by


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