Pats' Dante Scarnecchia retiring

Updated: January 22, 2014, 10:55 PM ET
By Mike Reiss |

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Longtime New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who spent 30 years with the franchise, is retiring.

"Dante Scarnecchia is a Patriot and NFL legend who defied the phrase 'not for long,'" Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement Wednesday. "In an industry of constant change, Dante remained a fixture here for the simple reason that he helped every player reach his highest potential, regardless of whom he was, how he was acquired or how much raw talent he had. In whatever category a coach can be assessed -- evaluator, teacher, motivator, problem solver, disciplinarian, team player, winner -- Dante is as good as it gets. As many games as he helped us win and as much as we would like to work with Dante forever, we are blessed with the opportunity to have been with him as long as we were."

The Patriots announced that former Jets offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo will take over for Scarnecchia, who was the longest-tenured NFL coach in 2013.

DeGuglielmo has coached nine years in the NFL, with the New York Giants (2004 to 2008), Miami Dolphins (2009 to 2011) and Jets (2012). He is a native of Lexington, Mass., and played football at Boston University.

Belichick said Tuesday he knew Scarnecchia was retiring at the end of the season and that the team was prepared for a "smooth transition."

[+] EnlargeBelichick-Scarnecchia
Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsBill Belichick called the retiring Dante Scarnecchia, right, on Wednesday "as good as it gets" as a coach.

"Dante and I, we've talked on a regular basis at the end of the year about the future and so forth. I think that he's been very honest and always tried to do the best thing for the organization and did it in a way where we knew that he was going to retire," Belichick said in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "He extended his stay with us a little bit longer than what we first talked about a few years back. This is a transition we knew we were going to be making and we knew we were going to be making it this year."

With Scarnecchia's retirement in mind, the team had assistant Brian Daboll work alongside him in 2013.

"Dante Scarnecchia has been the only coaching constant since I purchased the team in 1994," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "Not coincidentally, he retires as the only coach to have been a part of all seven Super Bowl teams in Patriots franchise history. I want to thank Dante for his leadership, professionalism and always putting the team first.

"For as long as I have known him, he was always the first to arrive in the morning and among the last to leave. He didn't demand respect from his players. He earned it. I loved watching Dante lead by example, especially when he would run stride for stride with his players during their conditioning runs. He was a coach who always stressed technique and fundamentals and helped players reach their full potential. At training camp, his colorful, constructive, coaching critiques made him a fan favorite. His presence on the Patriots sidelines will be missed by our coaches, players and fans alike."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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