New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton announced today that the club has parted ways with five assistant coaches. Those who will not be retained are defensive line coach Bill Johnson, assistant special teams coach Stan Kwan, special teams coordinator Greg McMahon, assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt and defensive assistant/linebackers James Willis.
"I would like to thank all of these coaches for the work they have done for this club," said Payton. "Specifically, Bill, Greg and Joe played a key role on teams that helped create a very special time in franchise history. They played an instrumental role in the development of countless players both on and off the field. I appreciate the contributions that these men have made to this team and wish them continued success."
"We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that each of these coaches have given to the New Orleans Saints," said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. "With Greg and Joe joining Sean's staff at the start in 2006 and Bill arriving in 2009, the three of them played an integral role in establishing a winning culture and identity within our team. We wish them well in their future endeavors."
Johnson, a native of Monroe, is a 36-year coaching veteran who joined the Saints in 2009. Under his tutelage, both defensive ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan enjoyed double-digit sack seasons. Smith recorded a career-high 13.5 sacks in Johnson's first season with the club as New Orleans captured Super Bowl XLIV. A first-round pick of the Saints in 2011 (24th overall), Jordan has recorded 46.5 sacks under Johnson's development, ranked ninth in club record books and has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice.
Kwan, a native of Phoenix, Az., has served as an NFL coach for 26 years and assisted McMahon with the club's special teams from 2013-16.
McMahon joined the Saints in 2006 and just finished his ninth season as the club's special teams coordinator. During his nine seasons, supervising special teams, the Saints have recovered 15 fumbles on special teams, scored 12 touchdowns – including seven on punt returns – and blocked three punts, five field goals and three extra points. Punter Thomas Morstead, who was a fifth-round draft pick of the club in 2009, is the club's all-time career leader in both gross (47.0) and net (41.2) punting average and was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2012 campaign.
Vitt came to New Orleans in 2006 and in addition to tutoring the club's linebackers, he also held the title of Assistant Head Coach. Vitt played an integral role as one of the most tenured and respected assistants on the club's staff. Six linebackers recorded triple-digit tackle seasons under Vitt's tutelage. Scott Fujita posted 417 tackles from 2006-09. Scott Shanle recorded 673 stops over seven seasons. Jonathan Vilma recorded 530 stops, eight sacks, six interceptions, five forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in 70 games, as he was selected to the Pro Bowl twice.
Willis, a former Auburn standout, enjoyed a seven-year playing career at linebacker and on special teams with three clubs. He has served as a coach for the last 15 years, including the last two working with the Saints linebackers.