TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football coach Nick Saban reportedly has hired former staff member Joe Pannunzio as the Crimson Tide’s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
Pannunzio would be returning to Alabama after working in an administrative role with the Philadelphia Eagles since 2015.
At least one former Crimson Tide player is excited about the news. Quarterback AJ McCarron said Thursday that he loves the move by his alma mater. “He’s just unreal. One of the best guys you will ever meet,” McCarron said.
Here is what you should know about Pannunzio:
1. He previously worked with Nick Saban
Pannunzio worked for Saban as Alabama’s director of football operations prior to leaving for the job with the Eagles.
2. He hasn’t had an on-field coaching role since 2010
Since 2011, Pannunzio has served in an administrative role. He worked as Alabama’s director of football operations from 2011 through 2014.
Pannunzio left Tuscaloosa for the NFL to work as the director of personnel operations for the Eagles.
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3. He has been a head coach
Pannunzio earned the head coaching position at Murray State in 2000. He held the post until 2005. His tenure ended after he was fired after a series of off-field issues involving players.
That was Pannunzio’s lone opportunity as a head coach. Murray State was 30-37 during his tenure and 20-22 in the Ohio Valley Conference. His best season was 2002 when the Racers went 7-5 and were eliminated in the first round of the I-AA playoffs.
4. He specializes with tight ends and special teams
Outside of his time at Murray State, Pannunzio has been a career assistant coach with the majority of his experience coming as a tight ends and special teams coach.
Pannunzio coached tight ends and special teams at TCU (1990-91), Minnesota (1992-94), Mississippi (1995-98), Auburn (1999) and the University of Miami (2006-10).