Adam Gase's first two years in the NFL were spent in the Detroit Lions' scouting department, where he filled his days "putting things up on the wall."
At least that was Steve Mariucci's recollection of how things were back in 2005. Mariucci was the Lions coach at the time, and the person Gase went to in hopes of getting out of the personnel department.
"He came to me and said, 'Coach, I want to get into coaching. I want to be a coach. I don't want to be a scout. I want to be a coach,'" Mariucci, now an NFL Network analyst, said Thursday. "And this was not in the offseason when you can just think about it. This was right before the season started, if I can recall."
Mariucci continued: "And he sat down and I could listen to this guy, and I didn't know him before that, and he seemed really eager. He seemed committed to being a coach."
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Gase's impassioned sales pitch worked. Mariucci gave him an entry-level coaching job: offensive assistant.
Fourteen years later, Gase is one of the best young coaches in football. Gase finished his first season as Dolphins coach with a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance.
But he probably wouldn't have risen as fast as he did if Mariucci hadn't seen something in him more than a decade ago.
"I reflected back -- how did I get a start?" Mariucci explained. "John Robinson gave me a chance to be a quality control coach at the Rams. I worked for lunch everyday. I thanked him for lunch. I had one child and one on the way and I was working for nothing, but out was a foot in the door. Sometimes, somebody needs to give you a break and give you a chance to prove yourself."
Mariucci added: "I'm really proud with Adam Gase. He worked hard. He climbed the ladder fast, he did all the right things, and like I said, he was eager to learn. He learned several different offenses and along the way, formulated his own kind of philosophy. So he's going to be a good one."