This UAlbany Great Danes’ Alum Just Joined the NY Giants’ Staff
After being hired as the new head coach of the New York Giants, Brian Daboll began to assemble his staff. He hired Kansas City Chiefs' quarterbacks coach, Mike Kafka as his offensive coordinator, and former Baltimore coach Don "Wink" Martindale as his defensive coordinator.
With those positions filled, he began to add depth to his staff, and a former University at Albany Great Danes' player turned out to be a prime candidate.
Meet Tony Sparano Jr., the Newest New York Giants' Coach
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Sparano Jr. grew up in Texas, and was named to All-District 5/5A squad as a defensive lineman and tight end in high school. His play led to his commitment to the University at Albany, where he played under long-time football head coach, Bob Ford.
All told, Sparano Jr. grew into a starter at defensive end, and made 24 total appearances for the Great Danes according to his player profile. He suffered a broken arm in his senior year after starting the first five games of the season, which ultimately cut it short before he was truly able to reach his potential in Albany.
That being said, it did give him the chance to transition into coaching, which he did in 2010, becoming the assistant defensive line coach for the Hartford Colonials. He followed his dad, Tony Sr., to Miami, where he worked as the offensive quality control coach, before moving to the New York Jets in 2012.
Sparano Jr. stayed with the New York franchise after his father's firing, accepting a promotion from Rex Ryan, and continuing to work as an offensive assistant until 2014. A two year stint with the Buffalo Bills was followed by his first job as assistant offensive line coach, which occurred with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017.
Sparano Jr. joined the Carolina Panthers in that capacity in 2021, and after a year on Matt Rhule's staff, he agreed to join the New York Giants' staff in the same role.
Sparano Jr. Comes from a Storied Football Family
Sparano Jr. is the son of the late Tony Sparano, who was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for four seasons from 2008 to 2011, after which he spent 12 games as the interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Sparano lived an entire life in football, beginning his coaching career with the University of New Haven in Division 3 in 1984. He first worked in the NFL in 1999, became an assistant head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2007, and was named head coach of the Dolphins a season later. Sparano was working with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, when he passed unexpectedly from heart disease.
Aside from his son Tony Jr., Sparano has another son, Andrew, who is the Offensive Coordinator / OL Coach at Feather River Junior College. "Andy" was an All-Northeast Conference candidate at guard and center for the UAlbany Great Danes, playing alongside his brother for Bob Ford. Sparano Sr. also has a daughter, Ryan Leigh, who is a chef.
Though Tony Sparano Jr. may not be the head coach of the New York Giants, he will play an integral role with an offensive line that needs major improvements.
Based on his past, and his family's pedigree, Sparano Jr. seems like the right Dane for the job.