A veteran football coach from the Hudson Valley who graduated high school in Fairfield County is set to showcase his skills under the bright lights in Las Vegas.
Yonkers native Rich Bisaccia, age 61, has been named interim head coach of the National Football League's Las Vegas Raiders following the overnight resignation of embattled former coach Jon Gruden, who stepped away following the emergence of racist and homophobic comments he made in emails a decade ago.
Bisaccia, who graduated from New Fairfield High School, is in his 20th year as a coach in the NFL, but this will be his first appointment as a head coach at any level after serving as a special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Raiders.
This marks the 38th year that Bisaccia has been coaching football following a four-year stint as a starting defensive back for Yankton College in South Dakota.
A longtime ally of Gruden, ESPN's former lead NFL analyst, Bisaccia had worked under him for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Raiders before Gruden was ousted from the helm of the team following the revelation of emails using slurs to describe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
“He’s so upfront about everything, he’s going to be truthful with you and not really sugarcoat it much,” linebacker Justin March-Lillard told USA TODAY. "You’re going to know he cares even if it’s not as happy as you might want it to be. You’re going to know he cares just by his approach to you as a man first. That’s the way he leads.
“He’s not afraid to take accountability for himself and he pushes all the guys in the room to hold ourselves accountable and compete at a high level.”
Bisaccia takes over a 3-2 Raiders team that has lost its last two games. Las Vegas goes on the road in Week 6 to take on the Denver Broncos. He is expected to remain as the head coach through the remainder of the season.
“He always talked about his core values as a man, coach, father, and husband," March-Lillard said. "He’s the same guy every day and you know what you’re going to get from him. If you mess up, he’s not going to let it slide by. If you make a good play, he’s not going to let you get too high on the moment because you have to go out there and do it again.
“With everything that just happens out of the blue and you have to handle it and adjust, he’s definitely the perfect guy in the role."
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