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AP Source: Jack Del Rio to be new Raiders coach

January 14, 2015

ALAMEDA, California (AP) — The Oakland Raiders hired Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as their new head coach on Wednesday in the hope that the Bay Area native who grew up cheering for the Raiders can return the team to its glory days.

A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed on condition of anonymity that Del Rio signed a four-year deal to replace interim coach Tony Sparano. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made.

Del Rio becomes Oakland’s ninth head coach since the start of the 2003 season. The Raiders have the NFL’s worst record in that span, having failed to produce a single winning season or playoff berth.

Del Rio replaces Sparano, who was elevated from offensive line coach during the past season to replace the fired Dennis Allen and had hoped to keep the job. Oakland went 3-9 under Sparano after losing the first four games under Allen.

The Raiders interviewed at least seven candidates but only Del Rio got a formal second interview. He emerged as the favorite after Denver’s season ended Sunday with a playoff loss to Indianapolis.

After meeting with owner Mark Davis in Denver during Denver’s bye week, Del Rio had his second interview in the Bay Area on Tuesday with Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie.

This marks the second straight time the Raiders hired a Denver defensive coordinator as their coach. Allen spent one year running the Broncos defense before being hired by McKenzie in 2012. He went 8-28 before getting fired last season.

Del Rio grew up in Hayward, just a short drive from the Coliseum. He went to Raiders games as a kid and even played a high school championship game at the Coliseum. His parents are still season-ticket holders and now will get the chance to watch their son coach their favorite team.

Denver ranked third in total defense and tied for 16th in scoring defense this past season. The Broncos were third in total defense and 10th in scoring defense in Del Rio’s three years with the team.

Before that, he was head coach in Jacksonville for nine seasons. Del Rio had a 68-71 regular-season record with the Jaguars and made the playoffs in 2005 and 2007, winning one playoff game in his second postseason trip. He was fired with five games remaining in the 2011 season.

He has extensive NFL experience, having played 12 seasons as a linebacker and coaching with New Orleans, Baltimore and Carolina before getting the head coaching job with the Jaguars.

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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report

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