December 16, 1926 |
|Alma mater||Miami University|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Miami (OH) (assistant)
Ohio State (assistant)
Baltimore Colts (DL)
Miami Dolphins (DC/LB)
Miami Dolphins (AHC/DC)
New York Giants
Miami Dolphins (AHC/DC)
San Diego Chargers (DC)
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
William Stephen "Bill" Arnsparger (born December 16, 1926) is a former American college and professional football coach.
Arnsparger was born in Paris, Kentucky in 1926. He attended Paris High School, and became connected with the school's longtime football and basketball coach, Blanton Collier. The relationship would have a major impact on his future career.
After serving in the United States Marines during World War II, Arnsparger attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity (Alpha Chapter). After graduating from Miami in January 1950, Arnsparger remained in Oxford to work as an assistant for the Miami football team during the 1950 season.
College assistant coach
In 1954, Arnsparger re-connected with Collier, who had been hired as head football coach at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Arnsparger remained at Kentucky for the next eight years until Collier was fired on January 2, 1962. During the 1959 season, he was joined on the coaching staff by a young coach who had served at the University of Virginia the previous year. That coach was Don Shula, with the two coaches forging a strong bond that would tie them for much of the next quarter century.
Arnsparger moved on to an assistant position with Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1962. After two years, he resigned the post on March 6, 1964 to become the defensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts under Shula.
National Football League
In 1964, Arnsparger became the defensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts. That season, the Colts reached the National Football League (NFL) Championship game and remained one of the strongest teams of the 1960s, competing in Super Bowl III on January 12, 1969.
When Shula left to become head coach with the Miami Dolphins after the end of the 1969 NFL season, he brought along Arnsparger. In just two seasons, the formerly moribund team had reached the Super Bowl, with Arnsparger fashioning what became known as the "No-Name Defense." World championships in each of the next two seasons, including an undefeated season during 1972, made Arnsparger a prime candidate for a head coaching position.
New York Giants
Following the Dolphins' 24–7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII, Arnsparger was named head coach of the New York Giants. With the Giants he managed just seven wins in his thirty-five games. Arnsparger coached the Giants in three different home stadiums during his tenure: the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974; Shea Stadium, home of the cross-town rival New York Jets in 1975; and finally, Giants Stadium in 1976. Arnsparger was fired in the middle of the season on October 25, 1976, with the team having lost all seven of its games on the year.
Return to the Dolphins
Just two days after his dismissal, Arnsparger was rehired by Shula as Miami's assistant head coach in charge of the defense. In the team's first game under his leadership, the Dolphins won a 10–3 defensive battle with the New England Patriots, who had averaged thirty points per game entering the contest.
Miami finished the 1976 NFL season with a 6–8 mark, then narrowly missed a playoff berth the following season. During the next two seasons, the Dolphins reached the postseason, but dropped their first playoff game. During the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, Miami reached Super Bowl XVII, but dropped a 27–17 decision to the Washington Redskins. Bill Arnsparger again had created an elite defensive unit, known as the Killer B's (so named because of the number of surnames beginning with "B" on the Dolphin's defense).
LSU head coach
On December 2, 1983, Arnsparger was hired as head coach at Louisiana State University, but finished his season with the Dolphins. Spending three years as the Tigers' head coach, Arnsparger led his 1986 squad to the school's first Southeastern Conference title since 1970, as well as a berth in the Sugar Bowl. Shortly after the final regular season game in 1986, Arnsparger announced he was resigning to become the athletic director at the University of Florida.
University of Florida athletic director
In 1989, Arnsparger's new school became embroiled in a series of controversies when it was revealed that head football coach Galen Hall had committed NCAA violations and that two players on his team had admitted gambling on college football games. In addition, questions about the school's men's basketball program also surfaced, allegations that led to the forced resignation of Gators basketball coach Norm Sloan.
Despite seeing both teams put on NCAA probation, Arnsparger was able to extricate himself from the football problem by hiring Steve Spurrier, then the Duke University head coach and the Gators' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in 1966. The appointment set the stage for one of the most successful runs for a program during the 1990s.
Return to the NFL
On January 13, 1992, Arnsparger resigned to become the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. During his four years, the team's defense showed marked improvement, culminating with an appearance in Super Bowl XXIX. Just days after the team's appearance, Arnsparger announced his retirement, citing the prostate cancer surgery he had undergone the year before.
Head coaching record
|LSU Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (1984–1986)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Florida Gators
- List of Miami University people
- List of Sigma Chi members
- LSU Tigers
- University Athletic Association