Whisenhunt emphasizes NFL experience, personal connection with staff additions

Mike Munchak was willing to take chances on assistant coaches with little to no experience on an NFL sideline.

Ken Whisenhunt has shown no such inclination as he has filled the first few openings on his Tennessee Titans staff.

The Titans announced Saturday that Lou Spanos, a veteran of 17 NFL seasons primarily with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was hired to be linebackers coach. He was defensive coordinator at UCLA the last two years.

Additionally, reports from numerous outlets over the weekend said the team also settled on two other additions – Ray Horton as defensive coordinator and Mike Mularkey as an offensive assistant. Both have been NFL coaches since 1994. Horton was Whisenhunt’s defensive coordinator for two seasons in Arizona, and Mularkey has been a head coach for two teams.

Whisenhunt previously has worked with all three as well as Jason Michael, who was named offensive coordinator last week.

“I know [Spanos] from our time together in Pittsburgh,” Whisenhunt said in a release. “He has put together a great body of work during his career. In his extended time in Pittsburgh working with Dick LeBeau, he gained a tremendous amount of experience and contributed to some of the best defensive teams in the league. As defensive coordinator at UCLA, he again showed he is a good teacher and leader and we are lucky to have him working with our linebackers.”

Munchak’s first staff included Bruce Matthews, whose coaching résumé featured just two years as an offensive assistant with Houston, Chet Parlavecchio, previously a high school coach in New Jersey, and Dave Ragone, who had spent one season as an assistant in the UFL. Dowell Loggains was promoted from quarterbacks coach to the youngest offensive coordinator in the league.

Coincidentally or not, all four were still on his staff at the time he was fired.