<span>The New Orleans Saints have hired Bret Ingalls as running backs coach, it was announced today by the team. Ingalls, who arrives in New Orleans with 23 years of coaching experience, has spent his last three years as Northwestern University's offensive line coach. In 2008, Ingalls also assumed the additional title of running game coordinator for the Wildcats.
Coach Sean Payton has also made three other coaching staff moves, promoting Pete Carmichael to offensive coordinator, promoting Aaron Kromer offensive line coach/running game and naming Joe Lombardi quarterbacks coach. Carmichael – who has been on the New Orleans staff since Payton's arrival in 2006 – had previously served as quarterbacks coach/passing game, and Kromer was the Saints' running backs coach in 2008.
"My philosophy in hiring coaches has always been to make finding teachers of the game and enthusiasm the biggest priorities during the interview process," said Payton. "Bret is well respected for his knowledge and communication skills with players. He has a wealth of experience working with several position groups and as a coordinator and I am very excited with what he will bring to our coaching staff."
In 2008, Ingalls' offensive line started five new players for the majority of the season without extensive experience, but paved the way for Northwestern to average 141.8 rushing yards per contest and allow the second-fewest sacks in the Big Ten. Their play helped the Wildcats win nine games for only the fifth time in school history. In 2007, Ingalls' offensive line blocked for the Big Ten's top-rated passing attack.
Prior to joining the Northwestern staff, Ingalls coached tight ends and tackles at Miami University in 2005, working with Saints' head strength & conditioning coach Dan Dalrymple. Ingalls has also had stints at Indiana State (2004), at the University of Idaho (2000-02) as offensive coordinator, and was at Louisville from 1995-96 in the same role.
Payton and Ingalls worked together on the coaching staff at San Diego State in 1989, where Ingalls served as running backs coach and tutored All-American Marshall Faulk. Also on that staff was Saints' wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson (Ingalls and Johnson also coached together at Idaho in 1987-88). Ingalls showed his versatility during his years with the Aztecs, spending time as offensive coordinator (1992-93), offensive line coach (1990-92) and running backs coach (1989, 1993).
Carmichael has tutored the passing attack and worked with Drew Brees over the last three seasons – one of the most prolific stretches for a quarterback in NFL history. Since 2006, Brees has thrown for a league-high 13,910 yards, 88 touchdowns, 1,209 completions and a 93.8 rating. In 23 of his 48 games in New Orleans with Carmichael on the sideline, Brees has posted over 300 yards passing.
Kromer, an 18-year coaching veteran, was the offensive line coach in Tampa Bay from 2005-07 before arriving in New Orleans. He joined the Buccaneers after spending four seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2002-04) as offensive line coach, and serving as assistant offensive line coach in 2001. He has developed the skills of several Pro Bowl linemen during his NFL career.
"Pete's promotion is well-deserved and I can't say enough about his ability, and Aaron did a great job with the running backs last year, particularly with the development of Pierre Thomas," said Payton. "Moving to the offensive line, where the majority of his NFL experience is, was a natural progression on our staff, and he'll also contribute to our game-planning with the running game.
"Joe worked closely with Pete last season and has a strong understanding of our philosophy on offense. I like the way these moves complete our offensive staff, and the promotions from within maintain our continuity on an offense that has been extremely successful."