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Saturday, January 16: Lou Spanos Named Linebackers Coach, Kirk Olivadotti Retained

Posted by Matt Terl on January 16, 2010 – 3:32 pm

The Redskins made another long-rumored coaching hire official today, naming former Steelers defensive assistant to the position of linebackers coach.

Spanos has a laundry list accolades to his credit — was on Steelers coaching staff for their last three Super Bowls, the only assistant who fits that bill; worked with new Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett during Haslett’s time in Pittsburgh — but the main thing I’m looking forward to asking him about is his college career. He was a center at Tulsa, where he snapped the ball to none other than Gus Frerotte. Fr’real.

Former Redskins linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti will be retained as a defensive assistant, making him truly the ultimate survivor. K.O. has been on the Redskins coaching staff back to 2000 under Norv Turner. Mike Shanahan will be his seventh head coach (if you count interim head coach Terry Robiskie, which I usually don’t).

When your position group has a rookie make a successful transition to a new position (and make the Pro Bowl), a veteran who was widely regarded as having been a serious Pro Bowl snub, and a third guy who had a technically very solid season, I guess it makes your case pretty well.

Full press release after the jump.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA – The Washington Redskins announced today that they have named Lou Spanos as their Linebackers Coach and retained Kirk Olivadotti as Defensive Assistant.

Spanos comes to Washington after spending the previous 15 seasons as a defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While in Pittsburgh, Spanos worked closely with the linebackers and was one of only three assistant coaches to be with the team for its Super Bowl XXX, Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII appearances.

“Lou has been a vital part of a Steelers defense that has had an amazing run of success of the last 15 years, particularly from the linebacker position,” Redskins Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. “He has familiarity working with Jim and he will be a tremendous asset to our staff.”

During his 15 seasons working with the Steelers, their defense ranked among the top 10 in the NFL 13 times, including four No. 1 rankings. Spanos coached nine different linebackers who combined for 19 Pro Bowl appearances – Kevin Greene (2), Greg Lloyd (2), Chad Brown (1), Levon Kirkland (2), Jason Gildon (3), Kendrell Bell (1), Joey Porter (3), James Farrior (2) and James Harrison (3). Additionally, Harrison earned the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2008, while Bell was the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001.

A 1994 graduate of Tulsa, he was a four-year letterman and starter at center. After he playing career ended (1989-92), Spanos remained at Tulsa as an assistant linebackers coach. He joined the Steelers in 1994 as an intern in the scouting department before being promoted to a defensive assistant after one season.

Spanos and his wife, Timme, have two sons, Zachary and Caleb, and one daughter, Gabriella.

Olivadotti originally joined the Redskins in 2000 as Defensive Quality Control/Defensive Backs Assistant, a position he held for four seasons. In 2004, he became Defensive Quality Control/Special Teams Assistant, before moving to Defensive Line Assistant/Special Teams Assistant in 2006. Olivadotti served as Linebackers Coach from 2007-09, when last season he tutored rookie Brian Orakpo to a Pro Bowl berth.

“K.O. has great versatility and will be a tremendous help to our entire defensive staff, just as he has for the past 10 years here,” Shanahan said. “He has made a quick impression on me and I am happy to be able to keep him with our team.”

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