Dante Scarnecchia returned to coaching the New England Patriots offensive line in 2016 and is now in his 46th coaching season. He re-joined the coaching staff in 2016 after a two-year retirement. Scarnecchia is a 45-year coaching veteran who is enjoying his 34th season as an NFL assistant. He owns the longest coaching tenure in Patriots history, now entering his 32nd season on the Patriots sidelines and is the longest current tenured NFL coach. The last NFL coach to garner at least 30 seasons with one team was Dick Hoak, who spent an NFL-record 35 seasons as an assistant with Pittsburgh. Since joining the NFL in 1982, he has spent all but two seasons (1989-90) with the Patriots.
Scarnecchia has been on the Patriots coaching staff during 19 of the franchise's 24 playoff seasons and has coached in 42 of the 51 playoff games in team history.
For the 17th season, Scarnecchia's primary responsibility will be the offensive line, a position he has coached for 30 of his 46 seasons in the profession. Bill Belichick named Scarnecchia the Patriots assistant head coach/offensive line coach on Feb. 1, 2000, a position he would hold until his retirement after the 2013 season.
Throughout Scarnecchia's tenure as offensive line coach, the offense has flourished, finishing near the top of the major statistical categories nearly every season.
One of Scarnecchia's major coaching accomplishments came in 2009, when the Patriots' offensive line allowed just 18 sacks, the fewest in New England history since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
In 2007, Scarnecchia was named SI.com's NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. Anchored by an offensive line that sent three players to the Pro Bowl (C Dan Koppen, T Matt Light and G Logan Mankins), the Patriots offense broke several NFL records, including total points and touchdowns. The offensive line powered a Patriots rushing attack that posted the franchise's highest average yards per rush in 22 years (4.10). Protected by the line, NFL MVP Tom Brady broke the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season (50) and led the league in both passing yards (4,806) and passer rating (117.2, also a franchise record).
New England's protection up front has been a significant contributor to the team's Super Bowl winning seasons. Last season, Scarnecchia's offensive line paved the way for RB LeGarrette Blount to score a franchise record 18 rushing touchdowns. In 2004, the line opened holes for running back Corey Dillon to set a single-season franchise record with 1,635 rushing yards and led the NFL with 109.0 yards per game played. In 2003, the offensive line did not allow a sack in any of the team's three postseason games despite 126 pass attempts. In 2001, Scarnecchia worked with a unit that featured three new starters, but still produced a powerful rushing attack and a balanced passing attack on the way to the franchise's first Super Bowl victory.
Prior to becoming offensive line coach, Scarnecchia coached the Patriots special teams units for two seasons (1997-98).
Scarnecchia originally joined the Patriots and made his NFL coaching debut in 1982 as a member of Ron Meyer's staff. He coached the tight ends and special teams for the Patriots for seven seasons (1982-88) before moving on to Indianapolis with Meyer in 1989. He rejoined the Patriots in 1991 after spending two seasons (1989-90) as the Colts offensive line coach. From 1991 to 1992, he coached the tight ends and special teams on Dick MacPherson's staff. On Nov. 4, 1992, MacPherson fell ill and appointed Scarnecchia to serve as the team's spokesman in his absence. Scarnecchia fulfilled the obligation for seven of the Patriots' final eight games and held the responsibilities of the head coach for both of the Patriots' victories that season.
In 1993, he was the only Patriots assistant retained from the previous staff. He was appointed special assistant from 1993-94, which was re-defined as defensive assistant from 1995-96. During that time, he assisted defensive coordinator Al Groh with the development of the team's linebacking corps.
His coaching career began in 1970 as the offensive line coach at California Western University. He moved to Iowa State in 1973, where he served as the assistant offensive line and assistant defensive backfield coach. He spent the 1975 and 1976 campaigns at Southern Methodist University, before becoming the University of Pacific's offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 1977 through 1978. In 1979, Scarnecchia coached at Northern Arizona and then accepted an opportunity to return to Meyer's staff at SMU as the offensive line coach in 1980 and 1981. In 1982, Meyer was hired as the head coach of the New England Patriots and Scarnecchia was among a number of the SMU assistants who joined Meyer's staff in New England.
Scarnecchia played offensive guard and center at California Western University from 1968-70. He began his collegiate career at Taft Junior College in 1966 before transferring to California Western.
Dante Scarnecchia was born Feb. 15, 1948, in Los Angeles, Calif. He holds a master's degree in physical education from U.S. International. Dante and his wife, Susan, have a daughter, Lisa, and a son, Steve. They also have two grandchildren, Brayden and Cameron Simmer.