Meet the Coaches Part Seven will highlight coaches of some of the other skill positions – Tight Ends, Running Backs, & Quarterbacks.
Pete Hoener – Tight Ends
PLAYING AND PERSONAL
Hoener (pronounced Hay-ner) played tight end and defensive end at Bradley, where he earned a degree in physical education.
Hoener coached 24 years on the college level as an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. Beginning as a graduate assistant at Missouri in 1975, he then coached the offensive line at each of his next seven stops: Illinois State in 1977, Indiana State from 1978-84, Illinois from 1987-88, Purdue from 1989-91, Texas Christian from 1992-97 and Iowa State from 1998-99. In addition to his role as offensive line coach, Hoener also held the responsibilities of offensive coordinator at Indiana State, Texas Christian and Iowa State. He handled the running backs at Texas A&M in 2000 before returning to the NFL in 2001.
Hoener spent three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, serving as the offensive line coach in 2003 and tight ends coach from 2001-02. It marked his second stint with the Cardinals after entering the NFL coaching ranks as the team’s tight ends coach from 1985-86 when the franchise was in St. Louis. While with the Cardinals, Hoener worked with tight end Freddie Jones, who finished first on the team with 44 catches for 358 yards in 2002. Jones became the first tight end to lead the team in receiving since Jackie Smith in 1973, and his 44 receptions were the most by a Cardinals tight end since 1968.
Hoener spent one season with the Chicago Bears, where he oversaw the offensive line in 2004. His flexibility was on display, as the Bears employed seven different starting combinations among the front five. Under Hoener’s guidance, center Olin Kreutz earned Pro Bowl honors.
Hoener served as the tight ends coach with the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-10. During his tenure with San Francisco, Hoener played an instrumental role in the development of tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, both of whom were drafted by the 49ers in 2006. Hoener helped Davis become one of the most versatile and complete tight ends in the game as both a receiver and blocker, and he turned Walker, a wide receiver in college, into an explosive receiving threat.
In 2009, Hoener tutored Davis to one of the most prolific seasons by a tight end in recent NFL history. Davis compiled 78 receptions for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns, an effort that resulted in being selected a Pro Bowl starter. Davis’ 13 touchdowns tied the then NFL single-season record for the most touchdowns by a tight end and equaled the most touchdown catches in the NFL, making him the first tight end in the Super Bowl era to lead or tie for the league lead in receiving touchdowns.
In 2010, Davis ranked first on the 49ers with 56 receptions, 914 receiving yards and seven touchdowns to become the first tight end in franchise history to lead the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in consecutive seasons. Walker also experienced a productive campaign, recording career highs with 29 catches and 331 yards.
In Hoener’s first season with the Panthers in 2011, the tight ends combined to catch 85 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, the most productive season by a group of tight ends in team history. The position also contributed to a running game that averaged a team-record 5.41 yards per carry and featured three 700-yard rushers.
Hoener coached Greg Olsen to one of the best seasons by a tight end in team history in 2012 as Olsen set franchise records for the most catches and receiving yards in a season by a tight end with 69 catches and 843 receiving yards, surpassing the previous records set by Wesley Walls in 1999. In the process, Olsen became the first Panthers tight end since Walls in 2000 to have a 100-yard receiving game with 102 yards on nine receptions, including two touchdowns, versus Denver (11/11/12). Not limited to being just receivers, Hoener’s group also helped open running lanes for Carolina to rank ninth in the NFL in rushing with an average of 130.5 yards per game.
Pete Hoener is in his third season as Carolina’s tight ends coach in 2013, overseeing one of the most prominent positions in the offense.
Tight end/defensive end: Bradley 1969-70. College coach: Missouri 1975-76, Illinois State 1977, Indiana State 1978-84, Illinois 1987-88, Purdue 1989-91, Texas Christian 1992-97, Iowa State 1998-99, Texas A&M 2000. Pro coach: St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals 1985-86, 2001-03, Chicago Bears 2004, San Francisco 49ers 2005-10, joined Panthers in 2011.
Jim Skipper – Running Backs
PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A graduate of Whittier College, Skipper played defensive back and also served as a kick and punt returner for the Poets. Born in Breaux Bridge, La., he grew up in Brawley, Calif.
Skipper entered coaching as the defensive backs coach at Cal Poly-Pomona in 1974 before joining San Jose State in 1977. He switched to offense as running backs coach at Pacific in 1979 and then coached at Oregon from 1980-82. Skipper made his foray into the professional coaching ranks with the USFL’s Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars from 1983-85.
He began his NFL coaching career as running backs coach with the New Orleans Saints in 1986 and served in that capacity through 1995. During his 10 years with New Orleans, Skipper coached two Pro Bowlers, Rueben Mayes and Dalton Hilliard. Mayes’ 1,353 yards in 1986 and Hilliard’s 1,262 in 1989 still stand among the top five totals in Saints history.
In 1996, Skipper moved to Arizona and coached one season with the Cardinals. Under his direction, fullback Larry Centers rushed for 425 yards and led all NFL running backs with 99 receptions for 766 yards to earn Pro Bowl honors.
Skipper spent four years with the New York Giants from 1997-2000 and in 2001 as head coach of the XFL’s San Francisco Demons. In his first season with New York, the Giants finished seventh in the NFL in rushing with an average of 124.3 yards per game. The next year, Gary Brown ground out 1,063 yards, and Tiki Barber followed with 1,006 yards in 2000.
Skipper came to the Panthers in 2002 and served as the Panthers’ running backs coach from 2002-10 in addition to being assistant head coach for the final five years. During Skipper’s tenure, Carolina’s running game thrived despite using 10 different starting halfbacks as he consistently coaxed the best out of his runners. Three players (Stephen Davis, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams) reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark, and eight (Dee Brown, Davis, DeShaun Foster, Nick Goings, Mike Goodson, Lamar Smith, Stewart and Williams) produced at least one 100-yard rushing game.
In 2003, a season in which Skipper helped the Panthers to 2,091 rushing yards and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII, Davis earned Pro Bowl honors with 1,444 yards, the second most in team history. Skipper’s best effort may have come in 2004 when Carolina started four different halfbacks because of injuries. Over the last eight games, Goings, a former undrafted rookie free agent, recorded five 100-yard outings.
In 2008, Williams set team records with 1,515 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, and Stewart established team rookie marks with 836 yards and 10 touchdowns (since broken) to propel Carolina to a ranking of third in the NFL with 2,437 rushing yards. Along the way, they became the first Panthers to both gain 100 yards in the same game, accomplishing the feat versus Detroit and versus Tampa Bay en route to a team single-game record 299-yard performance.
In 2009, Stewart and Williams became the first set of teammates in NFL history to each rush for more than 1,100 yards in the same season as the Panthers set a franchise record and finished third in the NFL with 2,498 yards. Stewart led the way with 1,133 yards, the third-highest total in team history, while Williams became the first player in team history to record consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and earned his first Pro Bowl selection after compiling 1,117 yards.
Skipper spent the last two seasons as the running backs coach for the Tennessee Titans from 2011-12. In each of Skipper’s two years with the Titans, running back Chris Johnson surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground, giving Skipper eight different 1,000-yard rushers in 26 seasons as an NFL coach.
Jim Skipper returns to Carolina in 2013 for his second stint as running backs coach.
Defensive back Whittier College 1971-72. College coach: Cal Poly-Pomona 1974-76, San Jose State 1977-78, Pacific 1979, Oregon 1980-82. Pro coach: Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (USFL) 1983-85, New Orleans Saints 1986-95, Arizona Cardinals 1996, New York Giants 1997-2000, San Francisco Demons (XFL) 2001 (head coach), Carolina Panthers 2002-10, Tennessee Titans 2011-12, rejoined Panthers in 2013.
Ken Dorsey – Quarterbacks
PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A standout at the University of Miami (Fla.) from 1999-2002, Dorsey is the winningest quarterback in school history with a 38-2 record as a starter and led the Hurricanes to the 2001 National Championship. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in May 2013.
The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist (2001, 2002) set numerous school records and still ranks as the all-time leader with 9,565 passing yards and 86 touchdown passes, while his 668 completions and 1,153 pass attempts stand second. As a junior in 2001, Dorsey won the Maxwell Award – presented to the college football player of the year – when he passed for 2,652 yards and 23 touchdowns on 184-of-318 attempts to compile a passer rating of 146.1.
He majored in business management and organization.
Dorsey himself played six years in the NFL from 2003-08 after being selected in the seventh round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. He spent three seasons with the 49ers and then three with the Cleveland Browns, making 13 starts and completing 214-of-408 passes for 2,082 yards and eight touchdowns. Dorsey finished his pro career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2010.
Dorsey served as an instructor at IMG Academy in 2011, where he helped train NFL prospects before the 2011 NFL Draft, working with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Dorsey served the last two seasons as a pro scout for Carolina from 2011-12. In this role, Dorsey advanced the Panthers’ upcoming opponents each week as well as evaluated free agents and prospects on other NFL rosters.
Ken Dorsey draws on his experience as an NFL quarterback and record-setting passer at the University of Miami (Fla.) as Panthers quarterbacks coach, moving from the scouting department to the coaching staff in 2013.
Quarterback: Miami (Fla.) 1999-2002. Pro quarterback: San Francisco 49ers 2003-05, Cleveland Browns 2006-08, Toronto Argonauts (CFL) 2010. Pro coach: Joined Panthers in 2013.
NEXT: Offensive and Defensive Coordinators