Inside The Coaching Staff: Darren Rizzi

Posted Mar 26, 2013

Each member of the Dolphins coaching staff has his own unique story which led him to the NFL. Today we learn how Darren Rizzi went from a walk-on player at Rhode Island to his current position as special teams coordinator of the Dolphins.

What kind of player were you in college at Rhode Island?

“My whole life I’ve been the classic overachiever. I was never the biggest, the fastest or the strongest, but I’d like to think I was a fierce competitor. I was a walk-on as a tight end in college. I’m proud to say I earned a scholarship and eventually became a captain of my team. I think you can look at that as kind of a microcosm of the kind of guy I was. I was always going to be the overachiever and not let anybody outwork me. I was always going to fight and claw and scratch for everything.”

What was your career highlight, and why?

“One of my first starts as a sophomore was down at Delaware, which at the time was the best team in our conference. I had a breakout game as a tight end where I think I had seven catches for 167 yards and a couple of touchdowns. It kind of snowballed from there and I always remember that game as being my biggest highlight.”

How would you summarize your career?

“I’d say it was rewarding because I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but I ended up being a consensus All-American tight end five years later. It was a rewarding process for me and, as I look back on it, it was great. My proudest moment was probably being elected captain by my peers and seeing all of that hard work that I had put in all throughout high school and college come to a head.”

How do you feel your experience as a player has helped you as a coach?

“In my instance it was one of those deals where hard work paid off, and I use that in my coaching career as well. There’s nothing that replaces hard work, repetition and competition. I was never one of those guys that took anything for granted. I try to coach with that style and bring that same mind-set to the players.”
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