Ryan hired as Jets' head coach; has Kentucky connections

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

A few years back, Buddy Ryan, the architect of the famed "46 Defense" used by the Chicago Bears to win a Super Bowl, was inducted into the Kentucky chapter of the National Football League Players Association Hall of Fame. During his acceptance speech, Ryan noted how his twin sons, Rob and Rex, were both defensive coaches on championship teams in the NFL. "The bottom line," Ryan said that night," Is if you want to win a title, hire a Ryan." Laughter ensued, but Ryan made his point. Fast forward six years, and both of Ryan's sons are still in the NFL -- Rob is the new defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, while Rex was named the new head coach of the New York Jets on Monday.

A few years back, Buddy Ryan, the architect of the famed "46 Defense" used by the Chicago Bears to win a Super Bowl, was inducted into the Kentucky chapter of the National Football League Players Association Hall of Fame.  During his acceptance speech, Ryan noted how his twin sons, Rob and Rex, were both defensive coaches on championship teams in the NFL.

"The bottom line," Ryan said that night," Is if you want to win a title, hire a Ryan."  Laughter ensued, but Ryan made his point.

Fast forward six years, and both of Ryan's sons are still in the NFL -- Rob is the new defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, while Rex was named the new head coach of the New York Jets on Monday. 

Bluegrass Connections

The elder Ryan, who won two Super Bowl rings (Jets, Bears), now is 74 and lives in Bagdad, Kentucky (Shelby Co.). Ryan moved there three years ago, after selling his 176-acre farm in Lawrenceburg. 

Ryan retired to the Bluegrass State after he was fired as head coach of Arizona following the 1995 season.

Rob Ryan's first football job was at Western Kentucky.  There, he was an assistant coach in 1987.

Rex Ryan earned a bachelor's degree of science and a master's degree in physical education from Eastern Kentucky.  Rex joined Roy Kidd's Colonel staff in 1987, as a defensive coach.  Later, in 1990, Rex became the defensive coordinator at Morehead State.

Connected to Morehead State

In addition to Ryan, former MSU line coach Mike Smith and special teams coach John Harbaugh made impacts in their first seasons as NFL head coaches.

Smith, who was at Morehead in 1986, was named the NFL Coach of the Year, after leading the Atlanta Falcons to an 11-5 record this past season.

Harbaugh was at MSU in 1988.  His Baltimore Ravens lost in the AFC championship game on Sunday.

And they say Kentucky's not a football state...

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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