Larry Zierlein

Larry Zierlein
Date of birth (1945-07-12) July 12, 1945
Place of birth Norton, Kansas
Career information
Status Active (coach)
Position(s) DE
College Fort Hays State College
Career history
As coach
1970–1971 Fort Hays State (grad. asst./ linebackers coach)
1972–1974 Abernathy (TX) (assistant coach)
1975–1977 Lamar Consolidated HS (TX) (assistant coach)
1978–1986 Univ. of Houston (offensive line coach)
1987 Washington Commandos (Arena) (assistant coach)
1988–1990 Tulane (offensive line coach)
1991–1992 NY/NJ Knights (World League) (offensive coord./ line coach)
1993–1994 LSU (offensive line coach)
1995–1996 Tulane (offensive line coach)
1997–2000 Univ. of Cincinnati (off. line/ running game coord.)
2001–2004 Cleveland Browns (offensive line coach)
2006 Buffalo Bills (asst. offensive line coach)
2007–2009 Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive line coach)
2011 Hartford Colonials[1]
Career highlights and awards
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Marines
Years of service 1966–1968
Rank Corporal[2]
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Larry Zierlein (born July 12, 1945)[3] is a long-time American football coach at high school, college, and currently Assistant Line Coach for the NFL Arizona Cardinals.


Zierlein grew up in Lenora, Kansas. After spending two years in the Marines from 1966 to 1968, including a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967, he attended Fort Hays State College. He played defensive end for Fort Hays State in 1969 before graduating in 1971.[4]

Coaching career

Zierlein embarked on his coaching career as a graduate assistant and linebackers coach at his alma mater in 1970. After two years coaching at Fort Hays State, he spent the following six seasons (1972–1977) as a high school assistant in Texas. In 1978 he returned to the college game at the University of Houston where he served as offensive line coach for nine seasons.[5]

In 1987 he got his first professional experience as an assistant with the Washington Commandos of the Arena Football League. When the Commandos went on hiatus the next year, Zierlein took a job at Tulane where he worked the next three seasons before returning to the pro ranks with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the National Football League's development league, the World League of American Football. With the Knights he held the title of offensive coordinator under Mouse Davis as well as coaching the offensive line. When the Knights folded in 1992, Zierlein once more headed back to college, this time at LSU.[5]

Zierlein spent two years at LSU, coaching the offensive line under head coach Curley Hallman. In 1995 he returned to Tulane, this time for what would be a two-year stint under Tommy Bowden. In 1997 he moved on to the University of Cincinnati as the running game coordinator and offensive line coach under Rick Minter.[5]

In 2001, Zierlein gained his first NFL experience with the Cleveland Browns. He served for four seasons as the Browns' offensive line coach under the Butch Davis regime. Zierlein's current Pittsburgh Steelers colleague Bruce Arians served as the offensive coordinator for the first three of Zierlein's seasons at Cleveland. He returned from a one-year absence from football in 2006 as the assistant offensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills under Dick Jauron.[5]

When Mike Tomlin was hired as the Steelers new head coach in 2007, he brought Zierlein to Pittsburgh to coach the offensive line. Tomlin and Zierlein had previously worked together in 1999–2000 with the Cincinnati Bearcats.[6] Steelers assistant special teams coach Amos Jones was also a member of that Bearcats coaching staff. Zierlein was relieved of his duties with the Steelers on January 6, 2010.[7]

E-mail gaffe

Zierlein gained unwanted notoriety in 2007 when he mistakenly forwarded an inappropriate e-mail to a large number of high-level NFL employees, including commissioner Roger Goodell. The e-mail, which Zierlein had received from Steelers pro personnel coordinator Doug Whaley, contained a pornographic video. Zierlein apologized for the gaffe, but was not disciplined by the team or the league.[8]


Zierlein and his wife, Marcia, have three children[5] and several grandchildren. Their son Lance is a sports talk radio host at Houston's "Sports talk 790" and a writer for Their son Mike (Lance's brother) is the head football coach at Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas.

Coaching tree

Notable head coaches under whom Larry Zierlein has served:
Head Coach Team Capacity Year(s)
Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach 20072009


  1. ColonialsBio
  2. "Browns Hire Three Assistants" (Press release). Cleveland Browns. February 7, 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  3. "Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant Coaches". NFL. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  4. "Football Media Guide" (PDF) (Press release). Fort Hays State University. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "2006 Media Guide" (PDF) (Press release). Buffalo Bills. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  6. "Larry Zierlein (bio)". Pittsburgh Steelers. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  7. "Steelers Announce Coaching Changes". (team's website). January 7, 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  8. Bouchette, Ed (May 23, 2007). "Blogger says Steelers' Zierlein inadvertently forwarded porn to NFL officials". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Russ Grimm
Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Line Coach
Succeeded by
Sean Kugler
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