Andy Reid Coaching Tree: Doug Pederson and John Harbaugh Are Just 2 of Reid’s Many Disciples

The Andy Reid coaching tree has become one of the most prolific in the modern NFL. Which current and former head coaches learned from the legendary Chiefs HC?

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is one of the most successful NFL head coaches of his generation. After becoming arguably the greatest head coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid took his coaching talents to Kansas City en route to his first Lombardi Trophy.

Along the way, Reid has not only taught some of the game’s top players of the last few decades but the NFL’s next generation of head coaches as well. Which branches form the Andy Reid coaching tree, and how well have those coaches fared in their new destinations?

Who Is Part of the Andy Reid Coaching Tree?

Coaching under Reid has become a one-way ticket to vertical opportunities for many NFL coaches. Reid’s propensity for getting the best out of his quarterbacks and offenses and his ability to, of course, win games, have led plenty of owners and fellow head coaches to look his way when building staffs. A whopping 11 of Reid’s assistants have gone on to become head coaches at the NFL level. Let’s break down the list.

John Harbaugh

  • HC Record: 147-95
  • HC Tenure: Baltimore Ravens (2008-Present)

Arguably the most successful branch of the Reid coaching tree, John Harbaugh was Philadelphia’s special teams coordinator for nine seasons, eight of them while serving under Reid before taking over as defensive backs coach for one year.

In 2008, he was hired to become the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, where he’s been one of the winningest coaches of the past decade-plus. With the Ravens, Harbaugh won Super Bowl XLVII and has made the playoffs in 10 of his 15 seasons.

Baltimore has been the epitome of stability during Harbaugh’s tenure, as the team has just one season with under eight wins since he took over in 2008. Harbaugh is one of just two former Reid assistants to win a Super Bowl ring as a head coach.

Doug Pederson

  • HC Record: 51-45-1
  • HC Tenure: Philadelphia Eagles (2016-2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2022-Present)

The only other head coach from the Reid tree to lift a Lombardi, Doug Pederson mastered everything he learned about Reid’s trademark offense and used it to propel himself to success in Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

Pederson spent his entire NFL coaching career under Reid prior to becoming a head coach. The former NFL quarterback joined Reid’s Eagles staff as an offensive quality control coach in 2009 before getting promoted to quarterbacks coach.

MORE: Why Did the Philadelphia Eagles Fire Doug Pederson?

Pederson then followed Reid to Kansas City and spent three seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator. He ultimately returned to Philly as a head coach and won Super Bowl LII in his second season on the job.

Two more playoff runs and one disappointing season later, Pederson was out as the Eagles’ HC, but he bounced back big time in 2022, leading the Jaguars to the postseason and placing himself squarely in the Coach of the Year conversation.

Sean McDermott

  • HC Record: 62-35
  • HC Tenure: Buffalo Bills (2017-Present)

When Sean McDermott was hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach, he was fresh off an impressive six-year run as the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator serving under another coach on this list, Ron Rivera. But prior to his stint with the Panthers, McDermott spent his entire coaching tenure cutting his teeth on Reid’s Eagles staff.

McDermott first joined Philadelphia in the team’s front office before Reid named him assistant to the head coach. After one season on the job, McDermott served in a variety of roles on the defensive side of the ball, including assistant defensive backs coach, secondary coach, and defensive coordinator. Now in Buffalo, McDermott has built the Bills into one of the league’s best teams, though postseason success has eluded him thus far.

Ron Rivera

  • HC Record: 98-90-2
  • HC Tenure: Carolina Panthers (2011-2019), Washington Commanders (2020-Present)

Reid gave Rivera his first shot as a position coach when he hired the former NFL defender as Philly’s linebackers coach in 1999. A former Super Bowl-winning LB himself, Rivera spent two seasons as a defensive quality control coach with the Chicago Bears before joining Reid’s staff. After five seasons with Reid, Rivera returned to Chicago, where he spent his entire playing career, as a defensive coordinator.

Rivera moved on to San Diego to become the Chargers’ linebackers coach following failed negotiations on a contract extension in Chicago. After four years and a promotion to defensive coordinator, he was hired as the Panthers’ head coach, where he spent nine seasons, reached a Super Bowl, and won two Coach of the Year awards.

Rivera was fired midway through the 2019 season and subsequently hired by the Washington Commanders in 2020. He’s reached the playoffs once in three years as Washington’s head coach.

Todd Bowles

  • HC Record: 34-50
  • HC Tenure: Miami Dolphins (Interim, 2011), New York Jets (2015-2018), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2022-Present)

Todd Bowles has a winding résumé that has seen him coach on seven NFL teams. He served in a variety of roles on the defensive side of the ball for the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins (where he was also the interim head coach in 2011) before joining Reid in Philadelphia in 2012.

Bowles served as secondary coach and took on interim defensive coordinator responsibilities when Juan Castillo was dismissed.

Bowles spent just one season under Reid. He was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as defensive coordinator in 2013, and after two successful seasons, the Jets named him their head coach. Bowles lasted four seasons in New York, missing the playoffs in all of them.

He then spent three years as DC with the Buccaneers before taking over as head coach following Burce Arians’ retirement. Bowles went 8-9 and was knocked out in the first round of the postseason in his first year as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

Leslie Frazier

  • HC Record: 21-32-1
  • HC Tenure: Minnesota Vikings (Interim, 2010; 2011-2013)

Leslie Frazier‘s first coaching job in the NFL coincided with Reid’s first season as a head coach. The newly minted Eagles top dog hired Frazier as the team’s DBs coach, a role Frazier kept for four seasons before he was hired as the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator.

He was fired after two seasons and joined the Indianapolis Colts as special assistant to head coach Tony Dungy and defensive backs coach, winning a Super Bowl ring.

Frazier was then hired by the Minnesota Vikings as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2007. Following the dismissal of Brad Childress (another name on this list) in 2010, Frazier was named interim head coach and went 3-3.

He secured the full-time job and managed one playoff appearance before he was fired after the 2013 season. Frazier’s since been the DC for the Buccaneers and Bills and has taken interviews for a variety of open HC jobs.

Brad Childress

  • HC Record: 39-35
  • HC Tenure: Minnesota Vikings (2006-2010)

The Reid-Childress connection actually began over a decade before the Eagles head coach brought Childress to his staff. In 1986, Reid took a job coaching offensive linemen at Northern Arizona, working under none other than Childress, who was the team’s offensive coordinator at the time. Over 13 years later, Reid hired Childress to be the quarterbacks coach of his inaugural Eagles staff.

MORE: NFL Head Coaches by Age

Childress was then promoted to OC, a role he held for four seasons. Though he didn’t call plays (Reid did), Childress was instrumental in the development of Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb.

Due in part to McNabb’s success, Childress was sought after as a head coach, eventually becoming the lead man for the Vikings. Childress made the postseason twice in five years at the helm, including one trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Steve Spagnuolo

  • HC Record: 11-41
  • HC Tenure: St. Louis Rams (2009-2011), New York Giants (Interim, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo coached for nearly 20 years in the collegiate ranks and NFL Europe before getting his first NFL coaching gig. He joined Reid’s inaugural Eagles staff as a defensive assistant and stayed with the team for seven seasons, eventually being promoted to defensive backs coach and then moving to linebackers coach.

In 2007, Spagnuolo left Philadelphia to take the DC position with Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants. Spagnuolo’s success in NY, including a Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady’s New England Patriots, led to several head coaching opportunities. He eventually picked the Rams (then in St. Louis) after Scott Linehan was fired.

Spagnuolo registered records of 1-15, 7-9, and 2-14 before being fired after his third season. “Spags” eventually returned to New York as DC and became the interim head coach after the firing of Ben McAdoo, going 1-3 in the role.

Pat Shurmur

  • HC Record:19-46
  • HC Tenure: Cleveland Browns (2011-2012), Philadelphia Eagles (Interim, 2015), New York Giants (2018-2019)

Another member of Reid’s inaugural Eagles staff, Pat Shurmur, joined Philly as tight ends coach and offensive line coach after 10 years in college football. He became the team’s QBs coach in 2002 and held the role for seven years.

Shurmur was then hired by the Rams as offensive coordinator for two seasons, which catapulted him into the head coach carousel, where he was plucked by the Browns in 2011.

Shurmur’s Browns struggled, going 4-12 and 5-11 over his two seasons in the Dawg Pound. After being jettisoned from Cleveland, Shurmer re-joined the Eagles under Chip Kelly and took over as interim HC when Kelly was fired in 2015.

Shurmur was interviewed for the permanent position, but the team selected eventual Super Bowl winner Pederson. Shurmur’s second full-time opportunity came with the Giants, where he went 9-23 in two seasons before being dismissed.

Matt Nagy

  • HC Record: 34-31
  • HC Tenure: Chicago Bears (2018-2021)

Nagy spent nine years coaching high school football in Pennsylvania until he got his NFL shot as a coaching intern on Reid’s Eagles staff. He’s since spent his entire non-head coach career working with Reid.

Following the end of Reid’s tenure in Philly, Nagy followed him to Kansas City, first as the team’s quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator in 2016. After two seasons, the Bears hired him to be the team’s head coach.

Nagy was off to a roaring start in Chicago, winning Coach of the Year and leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 2010. First-round pick Mitch Trubisky was making strides, and there was hope he’d be the team’s answer at QB.

In Year 2, Nagy’s offensive production began to taper off, and he recorded eight or fewer wins in each of his final three seasons. He re-joined the Chiefs in 2022 as a senior assistant and QBs coach.

David Culley

  • HC Record: 4-13
  • HC Tenure: Houston Texans (2021)

Of every coach on our list, David Culley is the one who spent the longest working with Reid. He was hired to Reid’s first Eagles’ coaching staff in 1999 as wide receivers coach, a role he held for Reid’s entire tenure through 2012.

Culley followed Reid to coach QBs with the Chiefs, where he was also given the title of assistant head coach. He then spent four seasons with the Bills and Ravens in a variety of offensive roles.

MORE: NFL Head Coach Wins Leaders

In 2021, Culley was hired as the head coach of the Houston Texans, becoming the fourth HC in franchise history. He had one disappointing season at the helm, going 4-13.

Though expectations were low given the rebuilding mode that the team was in and the drama surrounding Deshaun Watson — who sat out the entire year amid sexual misconduct allegations and a trade request — Culley was dismissed after just one season.

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