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Meet the New Orleans Saints coaches: Darren Rizzi

Rizzi is entering his third season with the Black & Gold


Darren Rizzi was named special teams coordinator for the New Orleans Saints on Feb. 11, 2019. Rizzi brings 28 years of coaching experience, including a 10-season stint with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-18.

Since entering the NFL in 2008, five of Rizzi's special teams players have been named to six Pro Bowls, including return specialist Deonte Harty and kicker Wil Lutz in 2019. He has coached six players to the NFL All-Rookie team in the past eight years, including Harris in 2019. Rizzi's units have served in the top half of NFL writer Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings in all 10 years that he has served as a coordinator, including first in 2019 and fifth in 2020.

In 2020, Rizzi fielded a special teams unit that ranked first in opponent punt return average (2.3) and second in opponent kickoff return average (17.2), sixth in kickoff return average (25.4 avg.) and ninth in punt return average (10.2 avg.), while ranking third in opponent average starting position after kickoffs (23.8-yard line) and ninth in average starting position after kickoffs (25.9-yard line). Despite missing seven games with injuries, Harris had a 12.2 punt return average and 27.3 kickoff return average. Lutz (Week Five) and punter Thomas Morstead (Week One) each were named NFC Special Teams Player of the week once.

Darren Rizzi Coaching Career

Table inside Article
Team Position Held Years
Colgate (College) Graduate assistant 1993
New Haven (College) Special teams & defensive line coach 1994-96
New Haven (College) Defensive coordinator 1997
Northwestern (College) Special teams & linebackers coach 1998
New Haven (College) Head coach 1999-01
Rutgers (College) Special teams coordinator 2002-07
Rhode Island (College) Head coach 2008
Miami Dolphins (NFL) Special teams coordinator 2009-16
Miami Dolphins (NFL) Associate head coach & special teams coordinator 2017-18
New Orleans Saints (NFL) Special teams coordinator 2019-present

Take a look at special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi in action as we highlight the New Orleans Saints coaching staff on the sidelines.