Sometimes in order to weaken an opponent and strengthen your team, you raid their coaching staff. Enter the new special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, pilfered from Atalanta.
Temple and a start
To get into coaching football some individuals take an intriguing route. Moving from college player (starter or not) to graduate assistant is one of them. Keith Armstrong would do so in Temple spending his time on the sideline for the 1987 season. During this season he would work under new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians.
Armstrong would move up to assistant defensive backs and special teams coach for the University of Miami. Though he would only stay for the 1988 season he gained some valuable experience. The head coach at the time, Jimmy Johnson, College Football Hall of Fame inductee. Following the 1988 season Armstrong relocate and find himself coaching the wide receivers in Akron Ohio.
The dark ages
Moving up to a bigger school Armstrong came on to coach the secondary at Oklahoma State. During his time there, 1990-1992, Oklahoma was only allotted 20 scholarships to the team and banned from bowl games. As a result of a bidding war prior to Armstrong’s arrival for high school players they were not competitive. Though the team was unsuccessful it was a learning experience.
Time to get a taste for winning
All players and coaches want to win. So when an opportunity comes along that allows you to join a winning franchise or school people take it. So that is just what Armstrong did as he moved to coach the linebackers and special teams players of Notre Dame. Under Lou Holtz’s watchful eye the Fighting Irish would go 11-1 to include a win against number one ranked Florida State. Eventually they would win the Cotton Bowl that year in a rematch against number six Texas A&M.
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A jump to the Pros
Joining Atlanta in 1994 Armstrong would oversee coaching the safeties and eventually the entire secondary. However it would be short lived. Armstrong would only spend three years in Georgia as the Falcons would go 3-13 in 1996. As expected, the entire staff would be let go at seasons end.
During the off season Armstrong would be acquired by the Chicago Bears. During this run from 1997 to 2000 the Bears had little to no talent. As a result of years that were filled with no quality quarterback, run game or defense Armstrong looked to move on.
Florida round two
Leaving Chicago Armstrong moved South. Right back to South beach where he once coached. Now a part of the Miami Dolphins Armstrong would take charge of the special teams from 2001 to 2007. The team would have four winning seasons and two playoff births during this time. Ultimately in 2007 the team would go 1-15. Sweeping changes across the staff saw Armstrong leave to a familiar foe.
Returning to the enemy
For the last ten years (2008-2018), Keith Armstrong has been the special teams coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Seven of his last ten seasons he has been a part of a team that has finished over 500. He has had the likes of Jason Elam and Former Buccaneer Matt Bryant on his squad. A squad that has finished in the top ten in rankings 4 times in the last ten years according to footballinsiders.com. During his time in Atlanta Armstrong was tied to the open head coaching jobs in Chicago (Lovie Smith) and Philadelphia (Andy Reid).
Possessing a career that has spanned over 30 years and has been under the tutelage of some great coaches he will bring a vast amount of knowledge. Additionally he should bring a strong presence and sense of leadership that aide the changing locker room culture. This is another solid addition by Bruce Arians.
Welcome to Tampa, Keith.
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