Top 50 Hokies Spotlight: Bruce Arians
All Hokie fans know the likes of Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Kam Chancellor, the Fuller brothers, and the Edmunds brothers, among many others for their performances in college and the professional level. However, many Hokies forget about Bruce Arians, who has risen to the highest level of the NFL coaching totem pole and has two Super Bowl rings and multiple NFL Coach of the Year honors.
Arians was born on October 3, 1952 in Paterson, New Jersey. Side note – my birthday is also October 3, so I’m glad I get to share my yearly celebration of my revolution around the sun with a Hokie legend.
Arians attended William Penn High School in York, Pennsylvania where he played quarterback. After graduation, he moved on to Virginia Tech where he also played quarterback from 1972 to 1974. Back in those days, football was much more of a run-based attack than the air-it-out style we see today, so Arians was also heavily involved in the run game. In his senior year in 1974 he threw for 952 yards with three TDs and ran for 243 yards and 11 TDs. Arians held the Virginia Tech record for most rushing TDs by a QB (11) for 42 years, until 2016 when Jerod Evans notched 12 during his sole year in Blacksburg.
Just a year after playing his final year in Blacksburg, Arians joined the Tech coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1975. His career blossomed after getting into coaching. After a short stint at Tech, he became the wide receivers and running backs coach at Mississippi State and then the running backs coach at Alabama where he joined the legendary Bear Bryant for a year.
In 1983, only eight years after his first role in Blacksburg, Arians got his first head-coaching gig at Temple. He was there for six seasons before joining the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989 to 1992. After ’92 Arians bounced around a bit before landing a role as quarterbacks coach in 1998 for the Indianapolis Colts.
Arians was Peyton Manning’s first quarterback’s coach when he arrived in the league and this is where he began to truly make his mark on the league. Arians’ philosophy has always been “No risk it no biscuit, you can’t live scared.” This epitomizes his gunslinger philosophy to playing, especially at the quarterback position.
Arians reached the peak of the sport in 2007 and 2009, where he was part of the Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive coordinator. After he departed the Steelers he went back to the Colts as offensive coordinator, but was promoted to interim coach, and won the 2012 AP NFL Coach of the year. He received that award a second time in 2014 during his five-year stint as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-2017.
In Arians' time in the league he has developed the reputation of a quarterback whisperer. He has mentored the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer. Almost all of whom are some of the best to ever play the game.
Arians, who often goes by "B.A.," currently serves as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who most recently, landed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Arians will surely let Brady sling it this coming season and it should be exhilarating to see.