Bill Sheridan and Mike Sullivan won a Super Bowl together as members of Tom Coughlin’s coaching staff with the New York Giants. Now Sheridan and Sullivan will team up – in greater roles for both – to try to help Greg Schiano do the same thing in Tampa.
Sheridan, who most recently coached the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new defensive coordinator on Friday. That was exactly one week after Sullivan, formerly the Giants’ quarterbacks coach, accepted the job of offensive coordinator on Schiano’s new staff.
The Buccaneers will hold an introductory press conference for Sheridan at 11:00 a.m. next Tuesday, February 21.
“Bill is a great teacher who brings a tremendous understanding of defensive football to the Buccaneers organization,” said Schiano. “Over the last three decades, he has had the opportunity to work under some great head coaches like Bo Schembechler, Nick Saban, Lloyd Carr, and Tom Coughlin. His experience and knowledge will be a great benefit to our defensive staff.”
The Buccaneers’ two new coordinators crossed paths from 2005-09 in New York and both were part of the staff that led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII after the 2007 season. Sheridan spent his first four seasons in New York as the team’s linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2009 campaign. Sullivan, meanwhile, tutored the Giants’ wide receivers from 2004-09 before moving to quarterbacks coach in 2010.
Sheridan has actually made two moves in the last three weeks. On January 31, he was hired by new Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer as a defensive specialist and was expected to handle the Buckeyes’ defensive backs. However, the Buccaneers subsequently came calling with an even more appealing opportunity.
As a member of the Dolphins’ defensive staff, Sheridan helped lead a formidable linebacker unit that included Cameron Wake, Jason Taylor, Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. Wake recorded 22.5 sacks over the last two seasons, including 14.0 in 2010, which ranked third in the NFL and was the eighth highest total in team history, earning him Pro Bowl honors. This season, Burnett and Dansby each recorded over 100 tackles, two sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
While with the Giants, Sheridan helped mold middle linebacker Antonio Pierce into a Pro Bowler and a leader of the 2007 Super Bowl champion’s defensive unit.
In 2007, the Giants ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense, eighth in rushing defense and 11th in passing defense, while leading the league in sacks. The unit then had a dominant four-game run in the playoffs, allowing a postseason-low 16.3 points per game. The season culminated with a victory in Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots, where the Giants held the highest-scoring offense in NFL history to just 14 points.
The following season the Giants’ defense improved to fifth overall, ninth in rushing defense and eighth in passing defense. In Sheridan’s lone season as the defensive coordinator, the Giants ranked 13th in total defense, 14th against the rush and 15th versus the pass.
Other Giants linebackers who benefitted from Sheridan’s tutelage included Carlos Emmons, Brandon Short, LaVar Arrington, Kawika Mitchell, Chase Blackburn and Mathias Kiwanuka, the latter of whom Sheridan guided through a transition from defensive end.
Prior to joining the Giants, Sheridan had extensive coaching experience with some of the most iconic collegiate football programs, having served as linebackers coach (2002) and defensive line coach (2003-04) with the University of Michigan, safeties and special teams coach (2001) with Notre Dame and linebackers coach (1998-2000) with Michigan State University.
In his time at Michigan, the team achieved a 29-9 record and earned two trips to the Rose Bowl plus a 2002 victory over Florida in the Outback Bowl. They also finished in the AP Top 25 in all three seasons (#9 in 2002, #6 in 2003 and #14 in 2004). Sheridan helped develop LB Victor Hobson and DT Gabe Watson into All-Big 10 performers.
In his one year directing the safeties at Notre Dame, Sheridan tutor Gerome Sapp and Abram Elam, both of whom went on to NFL careers.
In 1999, Sheridan coached under Nick Saban as Michigan State compiled a 10-2 record and a #7 national ranking, finishing with a win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl.
Sheridan began his coaching career at Shrine High School in Royal Oak, Michigan from 1981-84. He then served as a graduate assistant at Michigan for two seasons before coaching linebackers at three schools - Maine, Cincinnati and Army - from 1987-95. In 1996 and 1997, Sheridan coached the defensive backs at West Point.
Sheridan is a native of Detroit and earned four letters as a linebacker at Grand Valley State University. He and his wife, Jaycine, have four children: Joe, Nick, Mark and Natalie.