The New York Giants made it official, hiring Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator.
The Giants announced the hire after sources told The Baltimore Sun that Spagnuolo had landed the job.
Sources said that Spagnuolo emerged as the favorite to land the job following his interview Wednesday with Giants management and coach Tom Coughlin. The other finalist was former Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen with the Giants also interviewing former Buffalo Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, a former Giants linebacker, and Washington Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris.
“We spoke to a lot of very good candidates,” Coughlin said in a statement. “The energy, enthusiasm and strong personality that we saw before in Steve Spagnuolo, all of that was very evident again. His desire to be a Giant again was very, very obvious.”
Spagnuolo is one of the most popular former assistant coaches in Giants franchise history, having been the defensive coordinator for the NFC East club's Super Bowl XLII winning defense following the 2007 season. The Giants led the NFL that year with 53 sacks.
Spagnuolo has been on the Ravens' staff for two seasons and was promoted to assistant head coach and secondary coach last year after spending the 2013 season as a senior defensive assistant.
“This is both new and familiar at the same time," Spagnuolo said in a statement. " “I was hoping to take the next step and be a coordinator again. I’m ecstatic that it’s with Tom Coughlin. Tom is the highest character guy I know. The feeling I have is one of excitement. We’re going to work our butts off, and hopefully we will do great things together.
"I want to send out my gratitude to John Harbaugh, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome for the opportunity they gave me. John Harbaugh is a great coach and friend and a man of God, and I will miss working with him every day.”
This year, Spagnuolo led the Ravens' injury-riddled secondary through a tough season in which they finished 24th in pass defense after ranking 31st at one point.
Spagnuolo lost five cornerbacks to injured reserve, including top cornerback Jimmy Smith with a Lisfranc foot sprain. Spagnuolo had to constantly juggle his personnel.
Spagnuolo was a head coach for three seasons with the St. Louis Rams and was fired after going 10-38 before spending one year with the New Orleans Saints as their defensive coordinator and then being fired.
During his time with the Giants, the defense held the 18-0 Patriots to 14 points in the Super Bowl win following the 2007 season.
“That really was a special time,” Spagnuolo said. “What I remember most are the relationships we made with the players and coaches and everyone else in the organization. We’ve always felt like the Giants are a big part of our lives.”