Mike Tomlin
Mike Tomlin
Tomlin coaching a regular season Steelers home game in 2007
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Pittsburgh Steelers
Personal information
Date of birth (1972-03-15) March 15, 1972 (age 48)
Place of birth Hampton, Virginia, U.S.
Career information
College William & Mary
Career highlights

2008 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year

Head coaching record
Regular season 63–33 (.656)
Postseason 5–3 (.625)
Career record 68–36 (.654)
Super Bowl wins 2008 XLIII
Championships won AFC (2008, 2010)
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Team(s) as a coach/administrator








Virginia Military
Institute Keydets

(wide receivers)

Memphis Tigers
(graduate assistant)
Arkansas State
Red Wolves

(wide receivers)
Arkansas State
Red Wolves
(defensive backs)
Cincinnati Bearcats
(defensive backs)
Tampa Bay

(defensive backs)
Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers
(head coach)

Michael Tomlin (born March 15, 1972) is the current head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the American Football Conference. Tomlin is the third youngest head coach in any of the four major North American professional sports. He is the tenth African-American head coach in NFL history, and first in Steelers history. With the Steelers' victory in Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory.

High school and college yearsEdit

Tomlin attended Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia and was a three-year starter as a wide receiver/tight end for the College of William and Mary, where he became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He finished his career with a school-record 20 touchdown catches. He was a second-team All-Yankee Conference selection in 1994. Tomlin never played in the NFL.

Coaching careerEdit


Tomlin's coaching career began in 1995 as the wide receiver coach at Virginia Military Institute under former West Virginia University head coach Bill Stewart. He spent the 1996 season as a graduate assistant at the University of Memphis, where he worked with the defensive backs and special teams.

Following a brief stint on the University of Tennessee at Martin's coaching staff, Tomlin was hired by Arkansas State University in 1997 to coach its defensive backs. Tomlin stayed there for two seasons, before being hired as defensive backs coach by the University of Cincinnati.[citation needed]

All of Tomlin's coaching jobs at the college level were for NCAA Division I teams.

National Football LeagueEdit

Assistant coachEdit

Tomlin was hired as the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001, where he first learned the Tampa 2 defense that he would use in later coaching jobs.[1]

In 2002 and 2005, the Buccaneers led the NFL in total defense (fewest yards allowed per game)—during Tomlin's tenure, the defense never ranked worse than sixth overall. When the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003, the team recorded five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

Tomlin was selected by Vikings' head coach Brad Childress to be his defensive coordinator in 2006.[2][3] Two of the players on the Vikings were older than Tomlin, and Tomlin had been a teammate of Vikings' safety Darren Sharper at William and Mary. The 2006 Vikings finished with the NFL's eighth-best overall defense, but had the unusual distinction of finishing as the top-ranked defense against the run,[4] and the worst-ranked defense against the pass.[5]

Head coachEdit

File:First Tomlin in Victory Parade.jpg

Tomlin became the sixteenth Steelers head coach on January 22, 2007, when he was hired to replace Bill Cowher, who resigned after spending 15 years with the team. Tomlin had also interviewed for the head coaching vacancy with the Miami Dolphins, which eventually was given to Cam Cameron.

With Tomlin, the Steelers continued a trend of hiring head coaches in their 30s. The others were Cowher (age 34 in 1992), Chuck Noll (38 in 1969), Bill Austin (38 in 1966), John Michelosen (32 in 1948), Jim Leonard (35 in 1945), Aldo Donelli (33 in 1941) Walt Kiesling (35 in 1939), Johnny "Blood" McNally (33 in 1937) and Joe Bach (36 in 1935).

Tomlin is the 10th African-American head coach in NFL history and the first in Steelers franchise history. Steelers owner Dan Rooney has served as the head of the NFL's diversity committee and proposed the Rooney Rule, requiring that teams interview minority candidates when selecting a head coach. Although Tomlin's ascension to an NFL head coaching job has been cited as evidence of the rule working as intended,[6] Rooney himself disputes this, as he had already interviewed a minority candidate prior to interviewing Tomlin.[7][8]

Terms of Tomlin's contract were not officially released. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported a four-year deal paying $2.5 million per year, with an option for a fifth year. He is the teams's third consecutive head coach to win his first game, and the first in team history to win his first game against the rival Cleveland Browns.

In contrast to Bill Cowher, who only retained longtime running backs coach Dick Hoak from Chuck Noll's staff (Hoak himself retired just before Cowher's resignation), Tomlin did retain many of Cowher's assistants, most notably defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau despite his contrasting defensive philosophy with Tomlin. This was done in order to keep team chemistry with the players, since the team was only one year removed from a Super Bowl win at the time of Tomlin's hiring. The Steelers finished Tomlin's first season as head coach with the top-ranked defense in the NFL.[9] Tomlin led the Steelers to the 2007 AFC North Division championship and a 10–6 record in his first year as head coach. The Steelers lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31–29. Tomlin began his career with a 15–7 record in regular season play—as did his predecessor Cowher and all-time win-leader Don Shula.[10] Tomlin set a Steelers record for most wins, after winning 22 games in his first two seasons as head coach; in addition he became the first Steelers coach to win division titles in his first two seasons.[11]

When the Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 AFC Championship Game, Mike Tomlin became the youngest NFL head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl. He also became the third African-American to coach a team to the Super Bowl, following Chicago's Lovie Smith and Indianapolis' Tony Dungy, the two opposing coaches in Super Bowl XLI. After two seasons, with a record of 22-10, he was the winningest head coach in Steelers history based on a win percentage (68.8%).

On January 29, 2009, Mike Tomlin was named the 2008 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year.[12]

On February 1, 2009, at age 36, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl when his Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, beating the previous record held by Jon Gruden, who was 39 when he won Super Bowl XXXVII.[13]

On July 13, 2010, Tomlin signed a three-year contract extension with the Steelers.[14]

On November 13, 2011, Tomlin won his 50th game as the Steelers head coach with a 24-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Of the team's 16 head coaches, Tomlin was the fourth to reach this milestone.

On July 24, 2012, Tomlin received a three-year contract extension through the 2016 season.[15] The financial terms were not disclosed.

On February 7, 2012, the Steelers hired Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator, causing some controversy between him an QB Ben Roethlisberger; this proved to be a problem all of the 2012 season. They began this season with a loss coming from Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They later bounced back and where sitting with a 6-3 record. However they lost Roethlisberger to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers lost two of their three games without Roethlisberger. When he returned the Steelers lost three games in a row to the Chargers, Cowboys and Bengals finishing the year 8-8. It is the second time that the Steelers have failed to make the playoffs under Mike Tomlin's tenure as head coach.


Tomlin was born in Hampton, Virginia as Michael Pettaway Tomlin and is the younger of two sons; his brother, Eddie, is three and a half years older. Their father, Ed Tomlin, played football at Hampton Institute in the 1960s and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. However, Tomlin hardly knew his birth father and was raised by his mother and stepfather.[16] He later played for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. The elder Tomlin died in January 2012 from an apparent heart attack in Ocala, Florida, at the age of 63.[17] Tomlin's mother, Julia, married Leslie Copeland, a supervisor for the U.S. Postal Service, in 1980.[citation needed]

Tomlin met his wife, Kiya Winston, while they were students at The College of William & Mary, where Tomlin majored in sociology.[18] He graduated in 1995. They have three children: sons Michael Dean, born in 2000, and Mason, born in 2002; and a daughter, Harlyn Quinn, born in 2006.[19][20] Tomlin resides with his family in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and attends the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.[21][22]

Tomlin is a spring 1991 initiate of the Eta Omega chapter at Old Dominion University and charter member of the Xi Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, The College of William & Mary. Tomlin is popularly known for his uncanny resemblance to actor Omar Epps.[21]

Tomlin's name was referenced on an episode of the TV series House in November 2009 in Episode 8 of Season 6, "Ignorance is Bliss", when House mentions feeling like Mike Tomlin because of having his team back, then states probably not as much as Foreman (Epps' character).

Head coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won LostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
PIT2007 1060.6251st in AFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to Jacksonville Jaguars in AFC Wild Card Game
PIT2008 1240.7501st in AFC North 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XLIII Champions
PIT2009 970.5333rd in AFC North
PIT2010 1240.7501st in AFC North 2 1 .667 Lost to Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV
PIT2011 1240.7502nd in AFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Wild Card Game
PIT2012 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC North - - - -
Total[23]63330.656 5 3 .625

Coaching record vs. other teams (regular season)Edit

How the Steelers fared in games with Tomlin as head coach.

1Arizona Cardinals 1 1 0
2Atlanta Falcons 1 0 0
3Baltimore Ravens 6 6 0
4Buffalo Bills 2 0 0
5Carolina Panthers 1 0 0
6Chicago Bears 0 1 0
7Cincinnati Bengals 9 3 0
8Cleveland Browns 10 2 0
9Dallas Cowboys 1 1 0
10Denver Broncos 1 2 0
11Detroit Lions 1 0 0
12Green Bay Packers 1 0 0
13Houston Texans 1 1 0
14Indianapolis Colts 1 1 0
15Jacksonville Jaguars 2 1 0
16Kansas City Chiefs 2 1 0
17Miami Dolphins 3 0 0
18Minnesota Vikings 1 0 0
19New England Patriots 2 2 0
20New Orleans Saints 0 1 0
21New York Giants 1 1 0
22New York Jets 1 2 0
23Oakland Raiders 1 2 0
24Philadelphia Eagles 1 1 0
25St. Louis Rams 2 0 0
26San Diego Chargers 2 1 0
27San Francisco 49ers 1 1 0
28Seattle Seahawks 2 0 0
29Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 0 0
30Tennessee Titans 3 2 0
31Washington Redskins 2 0 0
Totals 63 33 0

Coaching record vs. other teams (playoffs)Edit

How the Steelers fared in playoff games with Tomlin as head coach.

1Arizona Cardinals 1 0
2Baltimore Ravens 2 0
3Jacksonville Jaguars 0 1
4San Diego Chargers 1 0
5New York Jets 1 0
6Green Bay Packers 0 1
7Denver Broncos 0 1
Totals 5 3

Coaching treeEdit

NFL head coaches under whom Mike Tomlin has served:
Head Coach Team Capacity Year(s)
Tony Dungy Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs coach 2001
Jon Gruden Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs coach 20022005
Brad Childress Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator 2006

References and notesEdit

  1. Smith, Michael (2005-12-28). "'Simple' scheme nets big gains for trio of defenses".
  2. Krawczynski, Jon (2008-08-22). "Steelers coach Tomlin made strong impression in MN". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  3. Harris, John (2008-08-23). "Steelers coach, Vikings safety share history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  4. "2006 regular season defensive rushing stats". Archived from the original on 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
  5. "2006 regular season defensive passing stats". Archived from the original on 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
  6. "Tomlin proof NFL's Rooney Rule is working as intended". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  7. The Wall Street Journal.
  8. Newsday, February 1, 2009 Tomlin adapts well to players but leaves no doubt who's in charge
    The Rooney Rule dictates that for all head-coaching openings, each team must interview at least one minority candidate. But here's what's interesting: The coach who might be the Rooney Rule's greatest advertisement didn't benefit from it. "Let me say this: Mike Tomlin was not part of the Rooney Rule," Rooney said. "We had already interviewed Ron Rivera [then the Bears' defensive coordinator], and so that fulfilled the obligation," Rooney said. "We went on, had heard about Mike, called him in and talked to him. He was very impressive."
  9. "Steelers finish with top defense". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
  10. Collier, Gene (2008-10-19). "Tomlin's early career looking an awful lot like Cowher's". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  11. Bouchette, Ed (15 December 2008). "Steelers Notebook: Game ends with some spit and a shove". Quick hits (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  12. Steelers' Tomlin named NFL Coach of the Year
  13. "Steelers win 6th Super Bowl in thrilling fashion". February 2, 2009.
  14. Bouchette, Ed (July 13, 2012). "Steelers' Tomlin receives contract extension". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  15. Bouchette, Ed (July 24, 2012). "Steelers sign Tomlin to three-year extension". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  16. Finder, Chuck (July 22, 2007). "Mike Tomlin: A man of his words (first of two parts)". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on August 9, 2007.
  17. Medina, Carlos E.; Austin L. Miller (January 17, 2012). "Former Marion County NAACP president Ed Tomlin dies at 63". The Gainesville Sun. Archived from the original on January 23, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  18. Pesola, Eric W. (2007). "Pittsburgh's New Man of Steel". William and Mary Alumni Association. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  19. "Pittsburgh Steelers". Pittsburgh Steelers. 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  20. New Pittsburgh Courier, Feb. 14, 2007
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Steelers' Tomlin earns sexy honor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  22. "Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach, talks about his faith",
  23. Mike Tomlin Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks –

Sources Edit

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ted Cottrell
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Leslie Frazier
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tom Coughlin
Super Bowl Winning Head Coach
Super Bowl XLIII, 2008–09
Succeeded by
Sean Payton
Preceded by
Jim Caldwell
Super Bowl Losing Head Coach
Super Bowl XLV, 2010-11
Succeeded by
Bill Belichick
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