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Rizzi Continues Improbable Ride

Posted May 17, 2017

Rizzi first joined the organization in 2009 as the assistant special teams coach.

In his first press conference since his latest promotion, which made him associate head coach in addition to his role as special teams coordinator, Darren Rizzi was asked how he felt to suddenly be the second-most powerful person on the coaching staff.

“Powerful is a strong word,” Rizzi said laughing, clearly taken aback by the suggestion. “Powerful, I don’t know about that.”

What Rizzi does know, and what no one can debate, is what a successful ride he has had with the Dolphins since first joining the organization in 2009 as assistant special teams coach.

Rizzi is the longest-tenured member of the Adam Gase’s coaching staff, preceding by three years fellow assistants Lou Anarumo, Charlie Bullen and Ben Johnson.

Rizzi was promoted to special teams coach in 2010, became special teams coordinator in 2011 and added the title of assistant head coach in October 2015 when the Dolphins made a midseason head-coaching change.

“It’s been a very, very unique ride,” Rizzi said. “If you told me that when I first got here that I would be here going into my ninth season, I probably wouldn’t have taken that bet, but it’s been phenomenal. I love this organization. I think I said the same thing last year, I’m just as excited now as I’ve ever been to be a part of the Miami Dolphins.

“Listen, I really love where we are right now. I think from the top down, this organization has really come a really long way in the time that I’ve been here. I think starting with (Owner) Mr. (Stephen) Ross, he’s just … I think it really goes unnoticed sometimes about how much he does for our organization. I was telling the rookies how many resources we have and how much resources he puts into this organization. Really, there’s nothing that they don’t have at their disposal when you look at everything we have from sports science, to nutrition, to the off the field stuff. That really goes back to Mr. Ross and his commitment to this organization. I love where we are with Gase. We have a great relationship and I really like the direction of this organization right now. I’m really, really excited.”

Rizzi is the only member of the coaching staff, excluding head and strength conditioning coach Dave Puloka, to have worked with the Dolphins’ last three full-time head coaches — Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin and Gase.

For Rizzi, the reason for his longevity is simple.

“You know what, all kidding aside — you guys know I like to joke around — I’m very, very passionate about what I do,” he said. “I think that probably comes out sometimes. I really enjoy what I do. I’m very, very passionate about this game. I’m very passionate about this organization. I think that is probably seen by most. I’d like to think that I have a good work ethic, and sometimes we’re good at what we do and sometimes we’re not. I think that sometimes we’re better than most. We’re better the majority of the time than we are on the flip side. I just think that I put my head down, I grind, I work and get these guys ready to play. I think that’s probably, maybe, been seen by my bosses.”

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