Rick Forzano

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Rick Forzano
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1928-11-20) November 20, 1928 (age 88)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1951 Kenmore HS (OH) (assistant)
1952 Hower HS (OH) (assistant)
1953–1955 Hower HS (OH)
1956 Wooster (assistant)
1957–1958 Kent State (assistant)
1959–1963 Navy (assistant)
1964–1965 Connecticut
1966–1967 St. Louis Cardinals (OB)
1968 Cincinnati Bengals (OB)
1969–1972 Navy
1973 Detroit Lions (assistant)
1974–1976 Detroit Lions
Head coaching record
Overall 17–43–1 (college)
15–17 (NFL)
10–14–1 (high school)

Richard Edward "Rick" Forzano (born November 20, 1928)[1] is a former American football coach at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, most prominently as head coach of the National Football League's Detroit Lions from 1974 to 1976.

After seeing his football playing career ended by a high school eye injury, Forzano turned to coaching and earned his first two opportunities at two Akron, Ohio high schools. A 1951 stint at Kenmore High School was followed one year later by a season at Hower High School. In 1953, he was promoted to head coach at Hower, where he stayed three seasons and compiled a 10–14–1 record.

In 1956, he moved on for one year as an assistant at the College of Wooster before spending two seasons in the same capacity at Kent State University.[2] In 1959, he began a five-year stretch as an assistant with the United States Naval Academy, helping recruit quarterback Roger Staubach, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1963.[3]

That success led to his first college head coaching position at the University of Connecticut,[4] where he was 7–10–1 in two years. In 1966, he moved up as an NFL coach with the first of two seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals' offensive backfield coach.[5][6] Returning to Ohio in 1968, he served one year in that same role as a Cincinnati Bengals assistant under Paul Brown.[3][7] On January 15, 1969, he then took the head coaching position at the U.S. Naval Academy.[3]

After putting together a 10–33 record with three defeats against rival Army, Forzano resigned on February 1, 1973. The decision came when he accepted an offer to become an assistant coach position with the Detroit Lions under Don McCafferty,[8] who had worked with him at Kent State in the late 1950s.[2] When McCafferty died suddenly of a heart attack on July 28, 1974, Forzano was named to replace him.[9]

Forzano was known as a strict disciplinarian.[10][11] However, Forzano was unable to lead the team to a winning record and resigned on October 4, 1976 after the team lost three of its first four games. Forzano finished his Lions' tenure with a 15–17 record[10] and never returned to coaching, focusing on his own company, Rick Forzano Associates. The company, based in Detroit, serves as a manufacturer's sales representative.[12] Forzano also served as a commentator for Big Ten Conference football games.

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Connecticut Huskies (Yankee Conference) (1964–1965)
1964 Connecticut 4–4–1 3–1–1 3rd
1965 Connecticut 3–6 2–2 T–3rd
Connecticut: 7–10–1 4–3–1
Navy Midshipmen (NCAA University Division independent) (1969–1972)
1969 Navy 1–9
1970 Navy 2–9
1971 Navy 3–8
1972 Navy 4–7
Navy: 10–33
Total: 17–43–1


  1. ^ "Rick Forzano". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Navy Coach Resigns To Join Lions". The News and Courier. Associated Press. 1973-02-02. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ex-Navy Aide Forzano Returns As Coach". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. 1969-01-16. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  4. ^ "Rick Forzano to Install Navy Offense at UConn". The Day. Associated Press. 1964-01-04. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  5. ^ "UConn Shopping For Grid Coach". Meriden Journal. Associated Press. 1966-03-05. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  6. ^ "Navy Selects Rick Forzano". Herald-Journal. Associated Press. 1969-01-13. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  7. ^ Franke, Russ (1969-10-08). "Coach DePasqua Had Choice: Sink At Navy Or Swim At Pitt". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  8. ^ "Forzano Leaves Navy For Job With Lions". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. 1973-02-01. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  9. ^ "Rick Forzano Named To Guide Detroit Lions". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. 1974-07-30. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  10. ^ a b Shook, Richard L. (1976-10-05). "Rick Forzano out as Lions' coach". Beaver County Times. United Press International. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  11. ^ "Forzano Not 'Easy Rider'". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. 1974-07-30. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  12. ^ "History". Rick Forzano Associates, Inc. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]