Rams hire Shurmur, Flajole

Updated: January 22, 2009, 7:57 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo began the task of filling out his coaching staff Thursday by hiring Pat Shurmur as St. Louis' offensive coordinator and Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator.

Shurmur, 43, has been an assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles since 1999, the past seven years as quarterbacks coach. He was a finalist for the head coaching job at Michigan State, his alma mater, in 2006, before the job went to Mark Dantonio.

His uncle, Fritz Shurmur, was a Rams coach from 1982-90.

Flajole, 54, is a veteran NFL assistant who comes from Carolina, where he coached linebackers.

"Both of these coaches exemplify what we expressed at our news conference earlier this week," said Spagnuolo, who was hired Saturday and introduced Monday. "That is the four pillars: Faith, character, core values and team first.

"In addition, Pat and Ken are excellent teachers, which is what we are looking for in our staff. Both come from outstanding, successful organizations," he said.

Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney still have plenty of jobs to fill. Both are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, where they were expected to interview several prospective coaches. It wasn't clear if any coaches from this season's Rams staff will return.

Shurmur was an all-conference center and team captain at Michigan State in the 1980s before becoming an assistant coach for the Spartans for 10 seasons. He spent one season as offensive line coach at Stanford before joining the Eagles.

As quarterbacks coach, he helped Donovan McNabb earn three of his five Pro Bowl berths.

Flajole has been credited with developing several top-tier linebackers with the Panthers, including Will Witherspoon, who has spent the past three seasons in St. Louis. Flajole began his career at Wenatchee (Wash.) Community College in 1973. His first NFL job was with the Green Bay Packers in 1998, and he coached in Seattle from 1999-2002 before joining Carolina in 2003. His collegiate coaching career included a stint at Missouri from 1989-93.

Just a little over a year after the death of longtime owner Georgia Frontiere, the Rams are taking on a whole new look after two disastrous seasons -- 3-13 in 2007 and 2-14 in 2008, when they ranked 27th in offense and 28th in defense. Coach Scott Linehan was fired after an 0-4 start. Interim coach Jim Haslett won his first two games, but the Rams lost the final 10.

Team president John Shaw and president of football operations Jay Zygmunt resigned in December. Devaney, hired a year ago, was promoted to GM and put in charge of player personnel decisions including the draft, free-agent acquisitions, trades and other transactions. He interviewed Haslett and four other finalists before choosing Spagnuolo, who comes to St. Louis after two seasons as defensive coordinator for the Giants.

Frontiere's children, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, are now Rams majority owners.


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