FOXBOROUGH -- The ties to New England are unmistakable if not unbreakable for Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. A native of Springfield, Philbin attended Worcester Academy and began his coaching career as an offensive line coach at Worcester Tech in 1986.
After leaving the area to work as offensive coordinator/line coach at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., from 1990-93, then offensive line coach at Ohio University in 1994, Philbin returned home to New England.
Out of work following Ohio's 0-11 season in '94, Philbin credited Barry Gallup, then Northeastern’s athletic director and football coach, for giving him a big break when Gallup hired him as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator and line coach in 1995.
"Barry Gallup, who is the associate AD at Boston College, was nice enough to give me a job when I was unemployed after going to Ohio University and we went a glamorous 0 for 11 and didn’t have any job,’’ Philbin recalled Wednesday in a conference call with the New England media in advance of Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
"I had four children and my wife was pregnant, and Barry was good enough to give me a job,’’ Philbin said. "I loved coaching every minute there and I was the offensive coordinator and Barry was excellent to work for.
"We had a winning season [6-5] -- the first time I think they ever had one there in the Yankee Conference -- in 1996, I want to say.’’
That led to another job opportunity, a similar role, at Harvard, where he spent two seasons on Tim Murphy’s staff, 1997-98.
"I was fortunate that I used to drive by Harvard every single day going to work at Northeastern and so I cut my commute down about 10 minutes,’’ Philbin said. "Tim Murphy’s done a fantastic job there as you guys know, excellent coach and the program that he has there. I really enjoyed that experience there as well.’’
His strong ties to the area help explain why Philbin turned to coaches with whom he worked at NU and Harvard to help fill his staff with the Dolphins.
He hired Jim Turner, a Braintree native and former Boston College standout who worked alongside Philbin at NU, to coach the Dolphins’ offensive line, and Lou Anarumo, a former Harvard assistant head coach during Philbin’s tenure with the Crimson, as defensive backs coach.
For coordinators, Philbin turned to Mike Sherman, the former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M head coach from Norwood, as his offensive coordinator, and Kevin Coyle, the former Holy Cross defensive coordinator with whom Philbin became acquainted while working at the Crusaders’ football camp, to be defensive coordinator.
"We’ve got quite a few guys from the region no doubt about it,’’ Philbin said. "When I was fortunate to get this job, I knew it was going to be important to hire, No. 1, excellent coaches, but, No. 2, people I could have total trust and faith in and guys who were loyal.
"That’s the first and foremost thing, and I’m delighted about having [Sherman and Coyle] as the coordinators,’’ Philbin said. "Obviously both of them have double-digit years of experience in the NFL.
"Mike’s been a proven head coach and a great resource to have. And Kevin is a dedicated professional and made a nice contribution in 11 years in Cincinnati, an unselfish guy and a real pro. So to have both those guys on the staff, I feel very fortunate.’’