Steelers hire Mike Munchak to coach offensive line



Mike Munchak, who grew up in Scranton, Pa., a Steelers fan before he went to Penn State and became a Pro Football Hall of Fame guard, is the new Steelers offensive line coach.

Munchak accepted Mike Tomlin's offer to become his fourth offensive line coach, weeks after he was fired as head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Tomlin interviewed Munchak last week to replace Jack Bicknell Jr., who was fired after one season.

Munchak, 53, spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Titans, who defeated the Steelers in the 2013 season opener at Heinz Field. Before that, he coached the Titans offensive line for 14 seasons after a 12-year career as a guard for the Houston Oilers that landed him in the Hall of Fame as part of the same 2001 class with Lynn Swann.

During his tenure as line coach of the Titans, Munchak taught the zone blocking scheme the Steelers want to use but abandoned after their loss to Tennessee.

Munchak had a reputation as one of the best line coaches in the NFL before he ascended to the Titans head coaching position. During his tenure as line coach, his linemen made 10 Pro Bowls and their running backs were among the best in the league, including Eddie George, Chris Brown and Chris Johnson.

Munchak, who played at Scranton High School, was an offensive lineman at Penn State from 1978-81. The Houston Oilers drafted him in the first round in 1982 and he went on to be selected to the NFL's All-1980s decade team.

Munchak gives the Steelers three former NFL head coaches on Tomlin's staff along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Munchak and LeBeau are in the Hall of Fame as players.

Munchak is owed $3 million on the final year of his contract with Tennessee, an amount that will be reduced by whatever salary the Steelers pay him. There were reports that the Titans wanted to keep Munchak as their coach and to extend his contract, but they wanted him to make changes in his coaching staff as part of the deal. Munchak reportedly refused and the Titans fired him. They hired former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to replace him.


Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette. First Published January 22, 2014 9:24 PM

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