Two days after his current team was eliminated from the playoffs by the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy interviewed for the head coaching position that became vacant when Tony Sparano was fired on December 18th. He is the sixth candidate to interview with Ross and General Manager Jeff Ireland, following interim Head Coach Todd Bowles, Dave Toub, Joe Phibin, Jeff Fisher and Mike Zimmer.
This was McCoy’s third season in Denver after spending the previous nine with the Carolina Panthers on the offensive side of the ball in different capacities. He was Carolina’s wide receivers coach in 2001, quarterbacks coach from 2002-08 and passing game coordinator in 2007 and 2008 among other jobs. But he jumped into the spotlight this year after Tim Tebow took over as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
McCoy tailored Denver’s offense to Tebow’s unique skill set on the fly, incorporating the spread offense Tebow ran to perfection in college at the University of Florida. Though that type of offense wasn’t designed to put up big numbers statistically, it resulted in Tebow putting together a memorable six-game winning streak after Denver started out 1-4. The Broncos finished 8-8 and captured the AFC West crown, which put them back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They shocked the league in the Wild Card round by knocking off the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, 29-23, before falling to New England.
During his NFL coaching career, McCoy has overseen six individual 3,000-yard passing seasons from his work with Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme (4) and Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (2). He also has been involved with the coaching of four Pro Bowl selections, helping Delhomme (2005) along with Broncos tackle Ryan Clady (2009) and wide receivers
McCoy helped the Panthers to an NFC South title and their first-ever Super Bowl berth (XXXVIII) during the 2003 season. Delhomme, in his first year as an NFL starter, registered a league-high seven fourth-quarter comebacks that season. Carolina named McCoy its wide receivers coach in 2001 and he oversaw the development of Pro Bowler Steve Smith during his rookie campaign. Wide receivers Mushin Muhammad and Donald Hayes each recorded more than 50 catches and 500 receiving yards under McCoy’s instruction that year.
McCoy’s coaching career began with Carolina as its offensive assistant in 2000, and he was thrust into the quarterbacks coaching role four weeks into the season. He worked closely with veteran Steve Beuerlein, helping him total 3,730 passing yards that ranked seventh in the NFL.
McCoy spent his first two collegiate seasons (1990-91) playing quarterback for Long Beach State University under legendary head coach George Allen before transferring to the University of Utah for his final two years. His collegiate career ended in dramatic fashion in 1994 when he threw a game-winning, 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson in the final minute to give Utah a 16-13 win against Arizona in the Freedom Bowl.
The Broncos signed McCoy as a college free agent in 1995, and he spent the regular season as a rookie on Green Bay’s practice squad. He saw his first professional playing time with NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals in 1997 and spent one game on San Francisco’s roster as its third quarterback that year. McCoy competed in training camp with Philadelphia in 1998 before concluding his playing career with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders in 1999. He and his wife, Kellie, have one daughter (Olivia) and one son (Luke).