Vance Joseph

Vance Desmond Joseph (born September 20, 1972) is an American football coach and former player who is the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). Previously he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos. As a player, Joseph attended the University of Colorado as a quarterback and running back in the 1990s, and was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995, playing cornerback for them and then the Indianapolis Colts in 1996. With 19 years of coaching experience at the professional and collegiate levels, Joseph was hired by the Broncos after spending 12 years as a defensive coach in the NFL with San Francisco (2005–10), Houston (2011–13), Cincinnati (2014–15) and Miami (2016). Between 2017 and 2018, he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Joseph was the second African American head coach in Broncos history, after Eric Studesville was interim head coach for 4 games in 2010, and their first African American head coach on a permanent basis.

Vance Joseph
refer to caption
Joseph as the Denver Broncos' head coach in 2018
Arizona Cardinals
Position:Defensive coordinator
Personal information
Born: (1972-09-20) September 20, 1972 (age 50)
Marrero, Louisiana, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Marrero (LA) Archbishop Shaw
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:21
Head coaching record
Regular season:11–21 (.344)
Player stats at
Coaching stats at PFR

Playing careerEdit

High school careerEdit

Joseph was the starting quarterback for three seasons for the Archbishop Shaw High School Eagles. He led his team to a 37–6 record in his three seasons and won Louisiana’s 4A state championship as a sophomore.[1] He garnered USA Today honorable-mention All-America honors as a senior and finished as 4A state runner-up to Ruston High School.[2] Joseph also was a starting guard on Archbishop Shaw's 1988–89 Class 4A state champion basketball team and lettered all four seasons in basketball.[3]

College careerEdit

Joseph attended the University of Colorado, and played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team as a quarterback and running back from 1990 to 1994. Joseph played in 30 games for the Buffs as a backup to All-Americans Darian Hagan and Kordell Stewart. He completed 34-of-61 career passes (55.7%) for 454 yards with four touchdowns in addition to rushing 50 times for 237 yards with one touchdown during his college career.[2] Joseph was also a member of the 1990 National Championship team.[4]

Joseph graduated from the Leeds School of Business with a degree in marketing in 1994.[5]

National Football LeagueEdit

Joseph was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995 and switched to the defensive back position. He played two seasons in the National Football League for the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. During his NFL career, Joseph started six games and recorded two interceptions.[6]

Coaching careerEdit


Joseph became a graduate assistant for the Colorado Buffaloes in 1999 and was there until 2001. After a brief stint as the secondary coach for Wyoming Cowboys in 2002, Joseph returned to Colorado to become the defensive backs coach in 2002 and 2003. He spent the 2004 season as the defensive backs coach for the Bowling Green Falcons.

San Francisco 49ersEdit

On February 17, 2005, Joseph was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as a secondary assistant. In 2006, he was promoted to secondary coach, a position he shared with Johnnie Lynn until 2010, when Lynn resigned for personal reasons.[7]

Houston TexansEdit

Joseph joined the coaching staff of the Houston Texans in 2011. He served as the defensive backs coach under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and head coach Gary Kubiak. Joseph helped the Texans to three consecutive top-seven NFL rankings in overall defense. Joseph’s secondary contributed to the team allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game (203.5) during that three-year stretch, helping Houston to its first two division titles in team history and playoff wins from 2011–12.[2]

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

Joseph was hired as the defensive backs coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in January 2014. Joseph helped the Bengals to back-to-back playoff appearances as their defensive backs coach from 2014–15 under head coach Marvin Lewis, guiding a unit that contributed to a league-best 41 interceptions during that span.[2]

Miami DolphinsEdit

Joseph was announced as the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins for the 2016 season under head coach Adam Gase. Joseph oversaw a defense that played a key role in the Dolphins returning to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. Despite having to use 13 different starting lineups due to injury, Joseph’s defense ranked fourth in the NFL on third downs (36.2%) while forcing the sixth-most negative plays (107) in the league.[2] The Dolphins won nine of their final 11 regular-season games in 2016 with Joseph’s defense accounting for the fourth-most takeaways (21) in the NFL during that stretch.

Denver BroncosEdit

Joseph was hired as head coach for the Denver Broncos on January 11, 2017, after signing a four-year contract.[8] He is the second African American head coach in Broncos history, after Eric Studesville was interim head coach for 4 games in 2010, and their first African-American head coach on a permanent basis.

On September 11, 2017, on Monday Night Football, Joseph won his head coaching debut in the 24–21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.[9]

Joseph finished his first season (2017) as head coach with a 5–11 record and improved to only 6–10 in his second season (2018), resulting in back-to-back losing seasons for the Broncos for the first time since the 1971/1972 seasons. On December 31, 2018, Joseph was fired by the team.[10]

Arizona CardinalsEdit

On January 11, 2019, Joseph was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as their defensive coordinator under head coach Kliff Kingsbury.[11] On October 15, 2021, Kingsbury and several other coaching staff members tested positive for COVID-19. This resulted in Joseph and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers taking over as co-interim head coaches for the Cardinals' week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns on October 17, 2021 and they led the Cardinals to a 37–14 win.

Head coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DEN 2017 5 11 0 .313 4th in AFC West
DEN 2018 6 10 0 .375 3rd in AFC West
Total 11 21 0 .344 0 0 .000

Personal lifeEdit

Vance's older brother, Mickey Joseph, is a coach and former Quarterback, who currently serves as the interim head coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.[12][13] Vance's younger brother, Sammy Joseph, played defensive back in the NFL and CFL.[13] Vance has two children with his wife, Holly.[14]

Sexual assault allegationsEdit

In 2004, Joseph was accused of sexually assaulting two female trainers while serving as the defensive backs coach at the University of Colorado.[15][16] The allegations were investigated by a state task force as part of a massive recruiting scandal that involved multiple women claiming they were raped by football players.[17][18] Joseph was placed on administrative leave, but after one of the two women involved said she did not want to press charges and the other declined to talk to police, the case was closed and Joseph was not charged.[19][20] Joseph left the University of Colorado and took a job with Bowling Green shortly afterwards. CU’s then-president said at the time that Joseph was also being investigated for sexual harassment in connection with a different incident in which he had sex with a trainer in a campus athletic facility.[21]

The sexual assault allegations resurfaced in 2017 when Joseph was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos. Before hiring Joseph, Broncos general manager John Elway conducted an investigation into sexual assault and sexual harassment complaints against Joseph and Joseph was asked directly about the accusations during the interview process.[22] Joseph said that the allegations were false but that he was deeply embarrassed by the sexual harassment incident because he was a married father.[23][24]


  1. ^ "Shaw Eagles". Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Schubert, Erich. "Broncos 2018 Media Guide" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Louisiana High School State Basketball Championship Games". Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  4. ^ "1990 National Champions". Colorado Buffaloes.
  5. ^ "Who is Vance Joseph?". USA Today.
  6. ^ "Vance Joseph Stats". Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "Lynn resigns as 49ers assistant coach".
  8. ^ Legwold, Jeff (January 12, 2017). "Vance Joseph reaches deal to be Broncos' head coach".
  9. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos - September 11th, 2017". Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Denver Broncos fire head coach Vance Joseph". NFL. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  11. ^ Urban, Darren (January 11, 2019). "Cardinals Grab Vance Joseph As Defensive Coordinator".
  12. ^ Lee, Tariq (June 27, 2011). "Mickey Joseph accepts challenge at Langston". News OK. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Sammy Joseph". Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  14. ^ "5 Fast Facts About New Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph". CBS Denver. January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (January 18, 2017). "Broncos' Vance Joseph addresses 2004 sex-assault allegations from time at CU". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Moskovitz, Diana (January 17, 2017). "New Broncos Coach Vance Joseph Left University Of Colorado After Being Accused Of Rubbing His Erect Penis On A Woman". Deadspin. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "Timeline: Colorado recruiting scandal". Associated Press. May 27, 2004. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  18. ^ "Sixth rape allegation surfaces at CU". February 20, 2004. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  19. ^ Byars, Mitchell; Kuta, Sarah (January 14, 2017). "New Broncos coach Vance Joseph was accused of sexual assault while a CU assistant". Daily Camera. Boulder, Colorado. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Legwold, Jeff (January 18, 2017). "Broncos' Vance Joseph: 2004 sexual-assault claims were 'false'". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  21. ^ Smith, Michael David (January 15, 2017). "2003 sexual assault allegations against Vance Joseph resurface". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  22. ^ Jones, Linday H. (March 2, 2017). "Broncos checked previous sexual assault and harassment complaints before hiring Vance Joseph". USA Today. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  23. ^ Dubin, Jared (January 19, 2017). "New Broncos coach Vance Joseph disputes sexual assault allegations". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  24. ^ Chiari, Mike (January 19, 2017). "Broncos HC Vance Joseph Refutes Sexual Assault Allegations from 2004". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 14, 2017.

External linksEdit