Renee Shaktivel

Staff Writer

Over winter break, two NFL head coaches with ties to ISU signed extensions with their teams despite recent on-field struggles.

Marvin Lewis, head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, agreed to a two-year extension despite finishing under .500 for the second consecutive season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have finished below .500 for the sixth time in seven years, retained Dirk Koetter as their head coach through a five-year agreement.

Shortly after his playing career at ISU ended in 1981, Koetter returned to his alma mater of Highland High School where he won a state title in 1984.

Upon leaving his position at Highland, Koetter moved up to the college ranks, where he spent one season as an offensive coordinator at San Francisco State.

Koetter also had stops at Boise State, Arizona State, Boston College, Missouri, UTEP and Oregon before accepting his first NFL coaching gig with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2007 as an offensive coordinator.

The Pocatello native is the son of Jim Koetter, who won three state titles with Pocatello High School in four years. His brother, Brent, won a combined five state titles with both Pocatello and Highland.

The offensive minded coach arrived in Tampa shortly after the Buccaneers drafted quarterback Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

During his rookie season, Winston became the third rookie in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards, transforming the NFL’s worst offense into an offense that gained more yards than any other team in franchise history.

Lewis, who coached linebackers at ISU in the early 1980s, was born in Pittsburgh and began playing football at age nine as safety and quarterback where he continued these positions throughout his career at Fort Cherry High School.

Despite original intentions to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh, he was offered a scholarship to play linebacker for ISU and made his move to Pocatello.

During his time playing college ball, he earned All-Conference honors in three consecutive seasons until he graduated with a master’s in athletic administration.

Lewis began his coaching career as a linebacker coach at ISU in 1981 and continued to progress as a coach with stops at Long Beach State and New Mexico State before breaking into the NFL in 1990 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lewis accepted a defensive coordinator position with the Baltimore Ravens, where he helped guide the league’s best defense to a Super Bowl victory during the 2000 season.

In 2003, he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as the head coach and has been with them for the past 15 years, making him the second longest tenured head coach in the league behind Bill Belichick.

In his 15 seasons with the Bengals, Lewis has seven playoff appearances, including four division titles but has yet to make it past the wildcard round. 

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