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Shanahan retains Olivadotti, officialy hires Spanos

The Redskins today announced that Kirk Olivadotti, the team’s longest-tenured coach, will be retained as a defensive assistant. He was the linebackers coach for the last two seasons under Jim Zorn, but that position was officially filled today by Lou Spanos, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"K.O. has great versatility and will be a tremendous help to our entire defensive staff, just as he has for the past 10 years here," Shanahan said in a statement released by the team. "He has made a quick impression on me and I am happy to be able to keep him with our team."

K.O. (which is simply an awesome nickname for a defensive football coach) has been with the Redskins since Norv Turner was the head coach, if you can believe it.

He joined the Redskins in 2000 and spent four seasons as a defensive quality control/defensive backs assistant. When coach Joe Gibbs took over in 2004, he spent two seasons as the defensive quality control/special teams assistant. His title changed to defensive line assistant/special teams assistant in 2006.

Olivadotti served as linebackers coach from 2007-09. Rookie Brian Orakpo heavily credited him this season with easing his transition from a full-time defensive end in college to a linebacker/end hybrid. KO’s guidance was recognized by the league when Orakpo earned a Pro Bowl nomination.

Spanos, whose hiring was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mid-week, spent the last 15 seasons as a defensive assistant with the Steelers. He has two Super Bowl rings from his tenure there. He also worked with new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in Pittsburgh in the late 1990s. 

The Steelers have run a 3-4 defense for many years now, and he’ll help Haslett install some 3-4 schemes.


  • Fredtastic

    Heard you on the Fan last week – quite an introduction you got there. Good work on the Skins this year! Keep it up!

  • RichCampbell

    Yeah, that intro was a bit unfortunate. It caught me off guard and I had no idea how to react. I knew those guys were playing around, though. Thanks for the kind words.