Tony Sparano, was born on October 7, 1961. At the age of 17 Tony suffered burns to his eyes in an accident and that is why he is always seen in his now, signature sunglasses, both day and night.
Sparano, the starting center, was a 4 year letterman for the Division II school he attended, the University of New Haven. Sparano graduated in 1986 and began his coaching career at New Haven as an offensive line coach, a position he held for four years. After New Haven Tony went to Boston University, a Division I AA school, where he served as the offensive line coach for one year and then the offensive coordinator for five seasons.
In 1994 Sparano was named head coach at the University of New Haven where he lead the team to two play-off appearances in the five seasons he was there. In 1997 New Haven led Division II schools in offense with 42.8 points per game and was second in defense, allowing only 11.6 points allowed per game under Sparano’s direction.
Starting in 1999 Tony served as an assistant coach briefly for the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Each of those brief assignments ended when coaching staff reshuffling took place. Finally, in 2003, Sparano was hired by the Dallas Cowboys where he enjoyed a longer stay and in just five seasons moved from the tight end coach to to assistant team coach. In 2006 Sparano was the offensive play caller, but that was short lived and he was replaced the very next year.
In 2008, following the Miami Dolphins worst ever year, Tony Sparano was hired as head coach with a four year contract. The very next year Sparano led them to an 11-5 record, the AFC title, and their first playoff opportunity in seven seasons. With this accomplishment Tony became the only NFL coach to ever lead a one win team to the playoffs the next year and only the second head coach ever to mount a ten game turn-a-round in their first season as head coach.
During the 2009-2010 season their record fell to 7-9 and they finished third in the AFC East. Sparano received a great deal of criticism in 2010 and frustrated team owner flew across the country to interview other coaching prospect, even though Sparano was still under contract. Apparently, the owner and Sparano arrived at an understanding an Tony remained as the head coach when his contract was extended by two years.
The 2011 season is off to a dismal start for Sparano. With a 0-4 record, fans begin to refuse to purchase Dolphin tickets. There are one of only five winless teams in the league making Sparano the target of a criticism and speculation. Some are questioning the players he is starting and point to sloppy play and amateurish mistakes. On the other hand some team members say that the problem isn’t Sparano, but the attitudes of some of the players who refuse to practice hard enough and long enough to get things right.
Unfortunately for Sparano, when a team has a losing record all eyes always go the head coach and at this point many believe Sparano will need a miracle of epic proportions to be back as head coach next year. Sparano, however, continues to sound confident and state that his team is capable of turning the season around and winning games. Sparano optimistically proclaims that the season is only a quarter of the way over and a lot can happen between now and the end of the season. Lets hope he’s right, most fans want to believe in their team but Dolphins tickets sales continue to plummet.