Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Eagles move Castillo to defensive coordinator

The Philadelphia Eagles named Juan Castillo the team’s defensive coordinator and hired Howard Mudd as the offensive line coach.

Castillo spent the last 13 seasons with the Eagles as an offensive line coach, where he was widely respected as one of the league’s top assistants. Under his tutelage, four linemen earned their first Pro Bowl selection: Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry, Jon Runyan and Shawn Andrews. Castillo has also displayed a penchant for developing undrafted players into solid NFL starters. Jamaal Jackson, Nick Cole, Hank Fraley, Artis Hicks, Bubba Miller and Steve Edwards were all rookie-free-agents-turned-NFL-starters under his watch.

A former linebacker at Texas A&I (1978-80) and for the USFL’s San Antonio Gunslingers (1984-85), Castillo began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater before spending 1986-89 as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Kingsville (TX) High School. He also coached the linebackers and defensive line at Texas A&M-Kingsville from 1982-85.

Castillo moved to the offensive side of the ball in 1990, serving as Texas A&M-Kingsville’s offensive line coach until 1994. During that time, he also gained valuable experience as a summer coaching intern for Tampa Bay (1994), Seattle (1993), and Buffalo (1992). He joined the Eagles in 1995 as an offensive assistant under Ray Rhodes, a post he held until being promoted to tight ends coach in 1997. One year later, he became the club’s offensive line coach. He was one of four members of Rhodes’ staff to be retained by head coach Andy Reid in 1999.

The 51-year-old Castillo is proud to be one of a few coaches in the NFL of Hispanic descent. In fact, he is fluent in Spanish and has done work for the NFL in promoting the game for its Spanish-speaking audience. In 2002, Castillo and his wife were special invitees of President Bush for a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House. A native of Port Isabel, TX, Juan and his wife, Zaida, have four sons, Gregory (a cornerback at Iowa), John (a distance runner at Villanova), Andres, and Antonio.

Mudd has 36 years of experience as an offensive line coach, including his most recent stint with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2009. Under his watch, the Colts allowed a league-low 227 sacks during that span (Tennessee ranked second with 337), and led the league in that category six separate times (2009, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2000 and 1999). Additionally, Mudd’s group paved the way for Edgerrin James’ two rushing titles in 1999 and 2000. He also helped produce a combined seven Pro Bowl appearances by Tarik Glenn (2004-06) and Jeff Saturday (2005-09).

Mudd began his coaching career as an offensive line coach at the University of California (1972-73). Prior to joining the Colts in 1998, his NFL offensive line coaching stints came with San Diego (1974-76), San Francisco (1977), Seattle (1978-82), Cleveland (1983-88), Kansas City (1989-92) and Seattle (1993-97).

The 68-year-old Mudd also enjoyed an eight-year NFL playing career with San Francisco (1964-69) and Chicago (1969-71). He was a three-time Pro Bowl starter (1966-68) and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. He played collegiately at Hillsdale (Mich.) College, where he was a starting guard and team captain. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.

Reaction from around the NFL regarding Castillo’s hiring:

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera:

“I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL. If anyone could cross over to the dark side [of defense], he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him. I was able to call on him so many times to understand how certain offenses worked and attacked. His knowledge of the game is very, very extensive and I consider him a mentor of mine in Philadelphia while I was working under Jim Johnson. He prides himself in his work ethic, which I know he got from his mother. More importantly, he’s a dedicated father, husband and friend and just a top notch person.”

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier:

“I have a strong affinity for Juan going back to our days spent together in Philadelphia. I can remember Jim Johnson and our defensive staff putting our game plans together and we’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff. And to do this day, he and I talk every week during the season to talk about other offenses in the league. That’s how much respect I have for him as a coach and how well he is able to understand the defensive schemes. I’m so excited that’s he’s going to be able to put those ideas to work for himself as the defensive coordinator in Philly. Andy Reid made a great choice.”

St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo:

“Great move by Coach Reid. Juan is a football junkie who has always studied the entire game. He’s a detailed, aggressive, and passionate football coach - all attributes vital to coaching defense. I wish him all the best.”

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