Gase fills out Jets staff with Cooter, Jefferson among hires
NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Gase’s coaching staff with the New York Jets has youth, experience, family ties and plenty of personalities.
The team announced that Gase filled out his staff Friday, including hiring Jim Bob Cooter as running backs coach, Shawn Jefferson as assistant head coach-offense/wide receivers and Frank Bush as assistant head coach-defense/inside linebackers.
Gase also reunited two of the central figures from the New Orleans Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal in 2012, adding Joe Vitt as a senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach to work under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Members of the Saints were found guilty of paying out bonuses — also called “bounties” — for injuring opposing team players from 2009-11. Williams, the team’s defensive coordinator, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL as a result of his involvement. Vitt, who is Gase’s father-in-law, was the assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and testified against Williams at the time.
Vitt was suspended the first six games of the 2012 season, and Williams was reinstated by the league after sitting out the whole year. The two will work together for the first time since the controversy.
Vitt spent last year as Miami’s senior director of football and player development after serving as a consultant with the Dolphins in 2017. Gase is married to Vitt’s daughter, Jennifer.
The Jets recently announced Gase’s coordinators, including Williams, Dowell Loggains (offense/QBs) and Brant Boyer (special teams). Among other hirings announced Friday were: Williams’ son Blake (defensive assistant); John Dunn (tight ends); Frank Pollack (offensive line); Derek Frazier (assistant offensive line); and Andre Carter (defensive line), Bo Hardegree (offensive assistant), and Eric Sanders (defensive assistant).
Dennard Wilson returns as the defensive backs coach and adds passing game coordinator to his duties. Also retained from former coach Todd Bowles’ staff were Steve Jackson (assistant defensive backs coach), Jeff Hammerschmidt (assistant special teams coach) and Robby Brown (defensive assistant).
Of the Jets’ 19 on-field coaches, 10 are 40 or younger — including the 40-year-old Gase.
Strength and conditioning coach Justus Galac and assistants Aaron McLaurin and Joseph Giacobbe were also retained.
Cooter spent the last five seasons with Detroit, including the last four as offensive coordinator. He previously worked with Indianapolis (2009-11), Kansas City (2012) and Denver (2013), where he also worked with Gase.
Jefferson, who had 470 catches during a 13-year playing career, was Gase’s wide receivers coach in Miami the last three years.
Bush was Miami’s assistant head coach/linebackers coach the past two seasons.