Sean Spencer (American football)

Sean Spencer (born December 15, 1970), nicknamed "Coach Chaos",[1] is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the defensive line coach and run-game coordinator for the New York Giants. He played safety for the Clarion Golden Eagles in college. Spencer is the CEO of the fitness apparel line, Trained in the Art of Chaos, LLC.

Sean Spencer
New York Giants
Position:Defensive line coach
Personal information
Born: (1970-12-15) December 15, 1970 (age 49)
Hartford, Connecticut
Career information
College:Clarion University
Career history
As coach:

Early lifeEdit

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Spencer is a 1988 graduate of Bulkeley High School, where he was a teammate of NFL coach Eric Mangini.[2] He and Mangini played for Graham Martin, whom Spencer said may have been his most important coach because he sparked his interest in teaching.[3]

College playing careerEdit

Spencer, was the starting Free Safety for the NCAA Division II, Clarion Golden Eagles for three seasons. He was named to the 1992 Division II Preseason All-America team by The Sporting News.[4]

Coaching careerEdit


Former high school teammate Eric Mangini helped Spencer land his first coaching job at Wesleyan University, Mangini's alma mater.[2] He coached wide receivers and tight ends for the Division III, Cardinals and learned under head coach Frank Hauser. Spencer nearly landed an entry-level job with Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns, where Mangini was working, but the team wanted someone local.[3]


In 1996 and 1997, Spencer landed in the PSAC coaching running backs for the Division II, Shippensburg Raiders.[5]

Trinity BantamsEdit

After this, Spencer would return home to Hartford where he coached three seasons for the Division III, Trinity Bantams. He would coach running backs in 1998 and 1999 and defensive line in 2000 for head coach Chuck Priore.[3]


Spencer served as the defensive line coach for the Division I-AA, UMass Minutemen, and head coach Mark Whipple from 2001 to 2003. In his final season, the Minutemen finish second in the Atlantic 10 Conference with 34 sacks, and three defensive linemen earned all conference honors. Standout Vladamar Brower, earned All-America honors, and was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist.[4]

Holy CrossEdit

Spencer spent 2004 coaching the defensive line for the Division I-AA, Holy Cross Crusaders, and head coach Tom Gilmore. Spencer's assistant defensive line coach that season was first year coach Ricky Rahne, whom he would later coach with at Vanderbilt and Penn State.[6]


After one season at Holy Cross, Spencer served as linebackers coach for the Division I-AA Villanova Wildcats in 2005, where he coached All-American Brian Hulea, who finished his career as the all-time tackler in the Colonial Athletic Association.[7]


In 2006, Spencer would coach defensive line for the FCS, Hofstra Pride and also took part in an NFL summer internship with the New York Jets and head coach Eric Mangini.[3]

Return to UMassEdit

In 2007, Spencer made a return to UMass to coach the defensive line and coordinate the special teams for head coach Don Brown.[3] He would spend two successful seasons with the Minutemen, helping the team to consecutive Colonial Athletic titles. Under Spencer's tutelage, the Minutemen would record 44 sacks in the 2007 and were led by All-America and Buck Buchanan Award finalist David Burris. Spencer also had success leading the special teams, mentoring All-CAA kick returner Courtney Robinson and All-America punter Brett Arnold.[8]

Bowling GreenEdit

Spencer coached defensive line for the Bowling Green Falcons and head coach Dave Clawson in 2009–2010. He would mentor Chris Jones to All-Mid-American Conference honors and helped the Falcons to the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl.[9]


In 2011, Spencer was hired by coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt, to coach the defensive line. During his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Spencer's defensive lines, nicknamed the "Wild Dogs" helped Vanderbilt finish in the Top 25 in total defense and recorded 42.5 tackles for loss in 2013 alone.[2][10] In 2011 Tim Fugger earned second team All-SEC honors, posting 8 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.[11] Spencer also mentored defensive end Caleb Azubike, who set a Vanderbilt true freshman record with four sacks in 2012 and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.[12]

Penn StateEdit

On January 24, 2014 it was officially announced that Sean Spencer would be following James Franklin to Penn State as the defensive line coach.[10] Prior to the official announcement, it was reported that the position was first offered to long time Penn State assistant Larry Johnson but was turned down by the coach.[13]

In Spencer's first season leading the defensive line, Penn State finished third nationally in rushing defense (100.5) and second in total defense (278.7). He also helped defensive tackle Anthony Zettel to first-team All-Big Ten honors recording 17 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, and three interceptions.[14] This led to Spencer being selected as a finalist for Football Scoop's Defensive Line Coach of the Year in 2014.[15]

In 2015, Spencer's defensive line led the FBS in sacks per game (3.54), sixth in tackles for loss (8.2), and 14th in total defense (324.5).[16] Under Spencer's guidance former walk-on Carl Nassib broke Penn State's single-season sack record with 15.5 and won the Rotary Lombardi Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, Ted Hendricks Award and Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. Nassib, who became Penn State's 13th unanimous Consensus All-American was selected in the third round by the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL draft with the 65th pick.[17][18] Defensive tackle Austin Johnson garnered second team All-Big Ten honors and was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round with the 43rd pick.[19] Defensive tackle Anthony Zettel who finished third team All-Big Ten was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions with the 202nd pick.[20]

The "Wild Dogs" reloaded after graduating three players to the NFL and did not miss a step in 2016, finishing seventh in FBS in tackles for loss (8.1) and 19th in sacks (2.86) to play a pivotal role in Penn State's Big Ten Championship run.[21] Junior defensive end Garrett Sickels received second team All-Big Ten honors collecting six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Evan Schwan collected third team All-Big Ten laurels after collecting six sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.[22]

Spencer's defensive line helped the Nittany Lions finish the 2017 season with 42 sacks, marking the third-straight season with 40 or more sacks. It was the first time since 2005–07 Penn State had three consecutive season with 40 or more sacks.[23] Besides the on-field success, the "Wild Dogs" and defensive line coach Sean Spencer donated 68 turkeys and 100 pounds of potatoes to the State College Food Bank for Thanksgiving food distributions in 2017. The donation was a partnership with the Student Book Store, which sold the official "Wild Dogs" T-shirts.[24]

Spencer, who would add the title of associate head coach in 2018,[25] helped the Nittany Lions defense lead the country in sacks per game with 3.62 and fourth in tackles for loss with 8.2 per game. It was the fourth straight season the defense finished with 40 or more total sacks.[26] The defensive line was led by sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos who finished the season with 8 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, earning him first team All-Big Ten honors.[27] Junior defensive end Shareef Miller earned third team All-Big Ten, while junior defensive tackle Robert Windsor received honorable mention recognition.[28] Miller declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round, 138th overall.[29]

New York GiantsEdit

It was announced that Spencer would make the jump to the NFL for the 2020 season coaching with the New York Giants under Joe Judge.[30][31]

Trained in the Art of ChaosEdit

Sean Spencer started his own fitness apparel line in 2019 called Trained in the Art of Chaos. The mission of the company is all about pushing people to achieve their goals, no matter what they may be. Trained in the Art of Chaos is an e-commerce store with a large selection of gym gear and athleisure wear made for all types of movement.


Sean has a Bachelors in Political Science. He and his wife Allyson have a daughter, Alysia.[32]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Harris, John."'Chaos' rules in Penn State's highly ranked defense", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 2, 2014, retrieved February 25, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Conner, Desmond.“From The Streets Of Hartford To Penn State Associate Head Football Coach, Sean Spencer Keeps Rising”, Hartford Courant, February 21, 2018, retrieved February 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Doyle, Paul.“Vanderbilt Assistant Sean Spencer Has Strong Connection To Hartford”, Hartford Courant, September 9, 2011, retrieved February 24, 2018.
  4. ^ a b UMass Profile, retrieved February 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Levarse, Derek."Penn State’s James Franklin mum on offensive coordinator search", Times Leader, December 5, 2018, retrieved February 25, 2018.
  6. ^ Staples, Andy."Not Every Coaching Career Starts at a Urinal, but Most Have Equally Humble Beginnings",, February 19, 2018, retrieved February 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Vanderbilt Profile,, retrieved February 23, 2018.
  8. ^ 2011 Vanderbilt Fact Book, p.37, July 18, 2011, retrieved February 26, 2018.
  9. ^ 2009 Bowling Green Humanitarian Bowl Guide, retrieved February 26, 2018.
  10. ^ a b McGonigal, John "James Franklin, Penn State announces football coaching staff", The Daily Collegian, January 24, 2014, retrieved February 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Boettcher,Jerome."Vanderbilt's scheme helps lure the best out of defensive tackle Rob Lohr",, August 9, 2012, retrieved February 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Boettcher,Jerome."Bowl appearance caps productive first season for four VU freshmen",, December 19, 2012, retrieved February 27, 2018.
  13. ^ McGonigal, John."Reports: Larry Johnson will not return to Penn State, accepted position at Ohio State", The Daily Collegian, January 14, 2014, retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Nelson, Jeff."Hull, Zettel earn All-Big Ten Honors",, December 1, 2014, retrieved March 1, 2018.
  15. ^ Neiner, Zack."Sean Spencer finalist for Defensive Line Coach of the Year", The Daily Collegian, December 9, 2014, retrieved February 24, 2018.
  16. ^ 2016 Penn State Football Spring Guide, pg. 3,, March 13, 2016.
  17. ^ Robbins, Heather."For award-winning Nassib, final honor may be the sweetest",, December 17, 2015, retrieved March 1, 2018.
  18. ^ Cabot, Mary Kay (April 29, 2016). "Carl Nassib drafted by Cleveland Browns with No. 65 pick". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Wyatt, Jim (April 29, 2016). "Titans Target, Land Penn State DL Austin Johnson". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Birkett, Dave (April 30, 2016). "Detroit Lions add Penn State, Tawas City DL Anthony Zettel". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  21. ^ 2017 Penn State Football Spring Guide, pg. 34,, March 20, 2017.
  22. ^ Lungaro, Vincent."Penn State football's Garrett Sickels named second team All-Big Ten by the coaches", The Daily Collegian, November 29, 2016, retrieved March 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "Penn State-Washington Fiesta Bowl Postgame Notes",, retrieved February 25, 2018.
  24. ^ Rushton, Geoff."Penn State Defensive Linemen Deliver Turkey Donations to State College Food Bank",, November 22, 2017, retrieved February 23, 2018.
  25. ^ Mandarino, Mikey (January 25, 2018). "Penn State Announces Staff Changes With Seider Hiring". 2018 Onward State. Archived from the original on January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  26. ^ "Penn State-Buffalo Game Notes". 2019 Penn State Nittany Lions. September 2, 2019. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "Pair Selected All-Big Ten First Team on Defense". 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions. November 27, 2018. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "Big Ten Announces Football All-Conference Teams for Defense and Special Teams and Select Individual Honors". 2018 Big Ten Conference. November 27, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  29. ^ McPherson, Chris (April 27, 2019). "Eagles select DE Shareef Miller in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft". 2019 Philadelphia Eagles. Archived from the original on April 28, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  30. ^ "Who is Coach Chaos? 3 things to know about Sean Spencer, new NY Giants defensive line coach". North Jersey. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  31. ^ "Sean Spencer Leaves Huge Void In Fabric Of Penn State Football With NFL Move". Onward State. 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  32. ^ Penn State Profile,, retrieved February 28, 2018.