Chuck Cecil

This article is about the football coach. For the radio broadcaster, see Chuck Cecil (broadcaster).
Chuck Cecil
Los Angeles Rams
Date of birth (1964-11-08) November 8, 1964
Place of birth Red Bluff, California
Career information
Position(s) FS
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg)
College Arizona
High school Helix High School (La Mesa, California)
NFL draft 1988 / Round: 4 / Pick: 89
Drafted by Green Bay Packers
Career history
As coach
20012003 Tennessee Titans (defensive asst./quality control)
20042006 Tennessee Titans (safeties and nickel backs coach)
20072008 Tennessee Titans (defensive backs coach)
20092010 Tennessee Titans (defensive coordinator)
2012–present St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (defensive secondary coach)
As player
19881992 Green Bay Packers
1993 Phoenix Cardinals
1995 Houston Oilers
Career highlights and awards
    Pro Bowls 1992
    Awards 1987 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year
    1988 Pac-10 Conference Medal winner[1]
    1988 NCAA Today's Top VI Award recipient
    Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Decade (1980s)[1]
    Honors 1991 All-Madden selection[2]
    1987 UPI,[1] Football News,[1] Kodak,[1] Walter Camp[3] and coaches[4] All-America selection
    2-time All-Pac-10 first team 1986, 1987
    3-time All-Pac-10 All-Academic team 1985, 1986, 1987
    1987 Academic All-America first team[5]
    2-time Academic All-America second team 1985, 1986[5]
    University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame inductee (1993)[6]
    Career stats
    Games started 61
    Interceptions 16
    Tackles 445
    INT return TDs 1

    Charles Douglas Cecil (born November 8, 1964) is an American football coach and former player who is the defensive secondary coach of the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He is also a former NFL Pro Bowl safety.

    Early years

    Cecil was born in Red Bluff, California. He grew up in Hanford, California. He graduated from Helix High School in La Mesa, California where he was a standout player on a defense which set a school record for fewest points allowed per game and won a state title.[1] At 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) and 150 lb (68 kg) (at the time), Cecil was considered too small to be a collegiate star and thus was not offered a scholarship out of high school.


    He attended the University of Arizona where he walked-on for the Arizona Wildcats football team. He proved the recruiters wrong by eventually earning consensus All-America and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors after his nine-interception senior season. When Cecil left Arizona, he held the Pac-10 record for career interceptions, with 21 (Lamont Thompson later broke the mark with 24), and set the Wildcats' school single-game record (and tied the Pac-10 record) with four interceptions against Stanford in 1987.[1]

    In the 1986 game against rival the Arizona State University Sun Devils, Cecil returned an interception 100 yards to notch a Wildcats victory. This play has been voted the greatest play in Wildcat football history.[1]

    He was inducted into the Wildcats' Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He also spent two seasons (1999–2000) as a television analyst for University of Arizona football games.


    Cecil was selected by the Packers in the fourth round (89th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. Cecil was known for his thunderous tackling and aggressive style during his time as a safety for the Packers (1988–1992), Cardinals (1993) and Oilers (1995), and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and garnered All-Madden status in 1992 when he recorded four interceptions and 102 tackles on the season. In 95 career games he totaled 400 tackles and 16 interceptions. During his years with the Packers, he earned the nickname "Scud" Cecil because of his hit-or-miss approach to tackling opponents. He often left his feet and led with his helmet, and much like the infamous missiles launched during the Gulf War – would occasionally miss completely or arrive late.

    Cecil is regarded as among the most vicious hitters in National Football League history. Chuck Cecil was featured on the October 11, 1993 issue of Sports Illustrated with the question: "Is Chuck Cecil Too Vicious for the NFL?"[7] Many photos taken of Cecil during games showed him with a bloodied nose.

    During much of his career, Cecil was forced to wear a "Gazoo Helmet"; a helmet so named because it resembled the head of The Great Gazoo, a recurring character in The Flintstones animated series. The "Gazoo helmet" is actually a thick padding that fits on a helmet's shell to reduce the risk of receiving a concussion and reducing the risk of injury to opponents due to helmet-first hits, for which Chuck Cecil was fined numerous times. Despite the additional protection, recurring concussions forced Chuck Cecil into retirement.

    Coaching career

    In 2001 Cecil accepted a coaching position for the Tennessee Titans under Jeff Fisher, for whom he had played in his final season (when the team was the Houston Oilers). Cecil served as a defensive quality control assistant for three seasons. He was promoted in 2004, to work with the safeties and nickel backs. His responsibilities expanded in 2007 to cover all of the defensive backs.

    On February 12, 2009, Cecil was named the Titans' defensive coordinator, replacing the departed Jim Schwartz, who had taken the position of Head Coach for the Detroit Lions.[8]

    On October 3, 2010, during a game against the Denver Broncos, Cecil gave NFL officials the middle-finger gesture in an attempt to protest a neutral zone infraction call against one of his players. Live close-up video of Cecil was being aired at the time, and the gesture was broadcast without editing. For his inappropriate action, he was fined $40,000 by the league.

    On January 20, 2011, it was announced that Cecil would not be retained as the Titans' defensive coordinator. He was informed of this decision on January 18. The Titans ranked 26th in total yards allowed and 29th against the pass in the 2010 season.

    On February 16, 2011, reported that Cecil will interview with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be their next secondary coach. He would fill the void left by Ray Horton when he departed to become the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. On February 13, 2012, he was hired as the St. Louis Rams defensive secondary coach. (


    Cecil is married to author, columnist and television producer, Carrie Gerlach Cecil. The two have one daughter, Charli.

    Coaching tree

    NFL head coaches under whom Chuck Cecil has served:
    Head Coach Team Capacity Year(s)
    Jeff Fisher Tennessee Titans defensive asst./quality control 20012003
    safeties and nickel backs coach 20042006
    defensive backs coach 20072008
    defensive coordinator 20092010
    St. Louis Rams defensive secondary coach 2012present


    1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 La Jolla Star Chamber Chuck Cecil bio, (accessed online 2009-02-12)
    2. All-Madden Team -- 1991 Archived April 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., John Madden, (accessed online 2009-02-13)
    3. Walter Camp Foundation All-America teams Archived 2009-05-04 at WebCite, (accessed online 2009-02-13)
    4. American Football Coaches Assoc. All-America selections, (accessed online 2009-02-13)
    5. 1 2 Academic All-America All-time List, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) (accessed online 2009-02-13)
    6. Hall of Fame Inductees by Year, University of Arizona (accessed online 2009-02-13)
    7. "Headlong and Headstrong" Archived January 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.Sports Illustrated, October 11, 1993 (retrieved January 14, 2009)
    8. Titans name Cecil Defensive Coordinator Archived March 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Titans press release, February 12, 2009 (accessed online 2009-02-13)
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