Open main menu

Bruce Charles Arians (born October 3, 1952) is an American football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) and a former player. He was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to 2017, and also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts. He also coached at the college level, serving as head coach at Temple and as an assistant at Mississippi State and Alabama. Arians is known for his trademark slogan "No risk-it, no biscuit", which encourages aggressive play and risk-taking.

Bruce Arians
refer to caption
Arians in 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1952-10-03) October 3, 1952 (age 66)
Paterson, New Jersey
Career information
High school:William Penn (York, Pennsylvania)
College:Virginia Tech
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
As head coach
As assistant coach
Head coaching record
Regular season:NCAA: 21–39 (.350)
NFL: 58–33–1 (.636)
Postseason:1–2 (.333)
Career:NCAA: 21–39 (.350)
NFL: 59–35–1 (.626)
Coaching stats at PFR

Arians was the offensive coordinator of the Steelers from 2007 to 2011 after being promoted from wide receivers coach, a position that he had held with the team since the 2004 season. With the Colts, he also served as interim head coach for the during the 2012 season, when their rookie head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians guided the Colts to a 9–3 record over his tenure, which lasted from October 1 until Pagano's return on December 24; he was named AP NFL Coach of the Year for the season. He became the head coach of the Cardinals in 2013 following a lone season in Indianapolis. Following the 2014 season, in which Arizona posted an 11–5 record, Arians was named 2014's AP Head Coach of the Year, the second of his career.


Early lifeEdit

A native of Paterson, New Jersey,[1] Arians graduated from William Penn High School in York, Pennsylvania.[2] Earlier, he attended York Catholic High School,[3] where he was a standout scholastic quarterback.

Playing careerEdit

Arians attended and played college football at Virginia Tech. As a senior in 1974, Arians was the starting quarterback in a wishbone offense for the Hokies football team. That season, he completed 53 of 118 passing attempts (44.9% completion pct.) for 952 yards with three passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. He rushed for 243 yards and eight touchdowns.[4] Arians held the Virginia Tech school record for most QB rushing touchdowns in a season with 11, two more than Michael Vick.[5] The record has since been broken by Jerod Evans in 2016. He was also the first white player to share a dorm room with a black player in VT history. His roommate was James Barber, father of Ronde and Tiki Barber.[6]

College coaching careerEdit

Arians began his coaching career in 1975 as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech. He was forced to resign after the death of 19 year old Bob Vorhies, who suffered a heat stroke while doing punishment drills. Arians then held an assistant coaching position at Mississippi State University (running backs and wide receivers) from 1978–80 before heading to the University of Alabama to coach the running backs from 1981–82 under Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Arians was also the head coach at Temple University from 1983–88. While head coach for the Temple Owls, he compiled a 27-39 overall record over six seasons. All six of Temple's wins during the 1986 season were later forfeited; running back Paul Palmer, who was the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1986, had signed with a sports agent before the season, making Palmer ineligible. Besides Palmer, other standout players Arians coached at Temple included cornerback Kevin Ross, safety Todd Bowles, offensive guard John Rienstra, and running back Todd McNair. Ross, Bowles, and McNair would all later serve as NFL assistant coaches with or under Arians.

After coaching at Temple, Arians held positions with Mississippi State (offensive coordinator, 1993–95) and Alabama (offensive coordinator, 1997) in between NFL assistant coaching jobs.

NFL coaching careerEdit

At the end of the college football season in 1988, Arians was hired in the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was during this time with the Chiefs that he worked with the coach who brought him to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bill Cowher. He also spent one season as the tight ends coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1996.

Following this stint was when he made a name for himself when he got the job as the quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He was the first quarterback coach of Peyton Manning when he arrived in the NFL. Afterward, he was hired as offensive coordinator (2001–2003) for the Cleveland Browns under Butch Davis. In 2002, he helped the Browns finish 9–7 (2nd in the newly aligned AFC North) and to a wild card playoff berth where they lost to the Steelers (36–33) in the first round. It was during his tenure with the Browns that he first worked with Chuck Pagano who served as the Browns secondary coach from 2001 to 2004.

Pittsburgh SteelersEdit

After the 2003 season, he was hired as the Steelers wide receivers coach and in 2007 was promoted to offensive coordinator of the Steelers, a position he held until his contract expired after the 2011 season.[7]

Indianapolis ColtsEdit

On January 28, 2012, Arians agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, replacing Clyde Christensen.[8] On October 1, 2012, Arians was named the interim head coach of the Colts following coach Chuck Pagano's leukemia diagnosis.[9] Arians led the Colts to a 9–3 record, part of one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in NFL history. The nine wins are the most by an interim head coach in NFL history.[10] After winning only two games in 2011, the Colts returned to the playoffs. Pagano returned to the Colts as head coach on December 24, 2012, with Arians returning to his role as offensive coordinator.[11] Arians missed the Colts wild-card game loss against the Baltimore Ravens due to being hospitalized with an illness, which was described by doctors as an inner ear infection or a virus; Arians had missed practice on January 3 due to the flu.[12] Arians was named the 2012 AP Coach of the Year, making him the first interim head coach to win the award.[13]

Arizona CardinalsEdit

On January 17, 2013, the Arizona Cardinals and Arians agreed on a 4-year deal that would make Arians their head coach.[14] Arians is the first Cardinals coach since Norm Barry back in 1925 to record at least nine wins in his first season, with a record of 10-6 for 2013.[15]

The Cardinals finished the 2014 season with an 11–5 record and were the #5 seed in the NFC. The 11 wins tied a Cardinals franchise record for most wins in a season. Arians led the Cardinals to a 9–1 start, best in the NFL, but injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer (who was 6–0 as the starter) and backup Drew Stanton, (who was 5–3 as starter) led to the Seattle Seahawks claiming the divisional title with a 12–4 record. The injury plagued Cardinals were eliminated by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the NFL 2015 playoffs, 27–16. Following the season, Arians was named AP Head Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.[16]

On February 23, 2015, the Cardinals announced a new four-year deal with Arians which will keep him with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.[17] After starting 3–0 for a second consecutive season, in 2015, Arians led the Cardinals to a franchise record in season wins, ending the season with a 13–3 record. The Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs, Arians' first playoff win as a head coach. The next Sunday, in the NFC Championship, the Cardinals were defeated again by the Carolina Panthers, this time in a 49–15 blowout.

In the 2016 season, Arians led the Cardinals to a record of 7–8–1.

After the 2017 season, where he led the Cardinals to an 8–8 record, Arians announced his retirement from coaching after five seasons with the Cardinals.[18]

Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

On January 8, 2019, Arians agreed to terms on a 4-year contract to come out of retirement and became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[19]

Coaching treeEdit

Head coaches under whom Arians has served:

Assistant coaches under Arians who have become NFL head coaches:

Broadcasting careerEdit

On May 3, 2018, Arians joined CBS Sports as a game analyst for the NFL on CBS, working with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.[20]

He replaced Steve Tasker as a co-analyst.

Personal lifeEdit

Arians at a fundraiser hosted by Tony La Russa in Phoenix, Arizona

Bruce and his wife Christine run a charity called The Arians Family Foundation, which supports and develops programs to prevent and ameliorate the abuse and neglect of children. The Arians Family Foundation supports the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

Arians is a prostate cancer survivor.[10] He and his wife Christine have a son, Jake (born January 26, 1978), who spent part of the 2001 season as the placekicker for the Buffalo Bills, and a daughter, Kristi Anne (born December 15, 1980).

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Temple Owls (NCAA Division I-A independent) (1983–1988)
1983 Temple 4–7
1984 Temple 6–5
1985 Temple 4–7
1986 Temple 6–5
1987 Temple 3–8
1988 Temple 4–7
Temple: 27–39
Total: 27–39

* 1986 team was 6–5 on the field, but had to vacate their wins due to the presence of an ineligible player on their roster.


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
IND* 2012 9 3 0 .750 2nd in AFC South
ARI 2013 10 6 0 .625 3rd in NFC West
ARI 2014 11 5 0 .688 2nd in NFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Carolina Panthers in NFC Wild Card Game
ARI 2015 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Carolina Panthers in NFC Championship Game
ARI 2016 7 8 1 .469 2nd in NFC West
ARI 2017 8 8 0 .500 3rd in NFC West
ARI total 49 30 1 .614 1 2 .333
Total 58 33 1 .636 1 2 .333

* Interim head coach


  1. ^ Cannizzaro, Mark. "CARTHON & MUIR RECEIVE INVITES TO STAY ABOARD", New York Post, January 20, 2001. Accessed May 3, 2015. "One of the offensive coordinators who's believed to be at or near the top of Edwards' list is Colts' quarterbacks coach Bruce Arians, a Paterson, NJ, native who's had a close hand in the development of Peyton Manning."
  2. ^ McClure, Jim (February 6, 2011). "York County, Pa.'s steel and green links to the Super Bowl". York Town Square. York Newspaper Company. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  3. ^ McClure, Jim (February 5, 2009). "Names of stars from York County with pro sports links just keep increasing". York Town Square. York Newspaper Company. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  4. ^ "Virginia Tech records and history" (PDF). Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  5. ^ "Bruce Arians College Stats - College Football at". College Football at
  6. ^ "Bruce Arians coaches with nothing to lose".
  7. ^ Dulac, Gerry (January 20, 2012). "Steelers' Arians retires from coaching". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  8. ^ Schefter, Adam (January 28, 2012). "Former Steelers OC Bruce Arians has agreed to become the Colts new OC. He's flying to Indianapolis on Monday to review and sign contract". Twitter. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "Colts coach Chuck Pagano has 'serious illness,' will likely miss several games". Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Associated Press (January 3, 2013). "Bears get permission to talk with Bruce Arians". The York Dispatch. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Martin, Jill (December 24, 2012). "Colts coach Pagano back on the job after leukemia treatment". CNN.
  12. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (January 6, 2013). "Bruce Arians in hospital, won't coach Indianapolis Colts". National Football League. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  13. ^ Milner, Barry (February 2, 2013). "Colts interim coach Arians wins top honors". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  14. ^ Baum, Bob (January 17, 2013). "Cardinals hire Bruce Arians as head coach". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  15. ^ "Arizona Cardinals in Good Hands with Head Coach Bruce Arians".
  16. ^ "Arizona Cardinals' Bruce Arians wins Coach of the Year".
  17. ^ "Bruce Arians, GM get 4-year deals". ESPN. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  18. ^ Sessler, Marc (January 1, 2018). "Bruce Arians retires after five seasons with Cardinals". Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  19. ^ Smith, Scott (January 8, 2019). "Bruce Arians Named Buccaneers New Head Coach". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "BRUCE ARIANS JOINS CBS SPORTS AS NFL GAME ANALYST". (Press release). May 3, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.

External linksEdit