KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The odds of a small college football program that no longer exists producing one NFL head coach seems long enough, but Sunday’s matchup between Kansas City’s Andy Reid and Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter serves as a reunion for the 1985 San Francisco State coaching staff.
“Honestly, I thought he would beat me to being a head coach in the National Football League,” Reid said of Koetter. “He’s a tremendous football coach.”
The San Francisco State Gators saw an inordinately large number of future NFL head coaches pass through its locker room before the school disbanded football in 1995. Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Holmgren stopped by as offensive coordinator in 1981.
Reid joined the team’s staff in 1983 as offensive line coach, his first coaching job after serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. The team hired Koetter, a high school football coach with two seasons under his belt, as offensive coordinator in 1985.
“We were little scrub buckets when we first started off together,” Reid joked, “and we ended, here, in Missouri at the University of Missouri. I definitely saw him as a college coach and then, I figured if he got in the NFL, he would be the head coach there too. He’s very, very good.”
Koetter remembers Reid as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football back in the day.
“Andy is one of the best, if not the best coach I’ve ever been around,” Koetter said, “his attention to detail, his ability to teach and the way he motivates guys.”
Reid made the jump to the NFL coaching ranks as an assistant with Green Bay in 1992, while Koetter remained at the college level until 2007.
He served as head coach at Boise State from 1998 to 2000, then Arizona State from 2001 to 2006. His three-year run at Boise State began the era of big-time college football for the Idaho program.
Koetter then plied his trade as offensive coordinator in the NFL for nine seasons. He served various roles with Jacksonville, Atlanta and Tampa Bay before earning promotion to head coach this season.
He takes over a Tampa Bay with a mix of veterans and young talent, headlined by quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs stand 4-5 on the season, good for second place in the NFC South.
Tampa Bay’s offensive comes to Kansas City off one of its best performances of the season. Winston tossed two touchdown passes along with 312 yards in a 36-10 rout of the Chicago Bears. The team also saw the return of running back Doug Martin. He picked up 33 yards rushing and a touchdown in his first game back from injury.
Reid sees the influence of Koetter on the Buccaneers in a short time.
“These kids are getting great, great training there,” Reid said. “It’s paying off, and you can see it on tape – how they’re playing.”