Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has listened to the pleas of his roster and the fan base and is hiring Antonio Pierce as the full-time coach of the team, according to several reports.
Raiders are working to finalize a deal to hire Antonio Pierce as their head coach, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 19, 2024
Raiders made Pierce their interim HC on Halloween night and now are closing in on making it a full-time job. Players who campaigned for Pierce soon are expected to be happy. pic.twitter.com/OAJTur9ZJ0
Pierce finished the season as the team’s interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was fired on October 31 after 25 games with the franchise. Pierce went 5-4 to lead the Raiders to an 8-9 season.
Pierce, who was also a candidate for the Tennessee Titans’ and Atlanta Falcons jobs this hiring cycle, had the support of players and fans because of his strong leadership and his attitude that embodies the Raiders’ history. Pierce, who was a Los Angeles Raiders fan when he grew up in nearby Compton, famously said he was born to be the team’s coach when he took over as the interim coach.
The highlights of Pierce’s interim tenure were a 63-21 (a team record for points scored) win over the Los Angeles Chargers and a Christmas Day win at Kansas City in back-to-back games. He led the Raiders to a 3-1 record in the AFC West.
The Raiders made great strides on defense under his watch and played clean and smart football for most of his interim tenure.
Pierce, 45, came to Las Vegas as the linebackers coach after being a top assistant at Arizona State. The Raiders are the first NFL job for Pierce, who was a nine-year veteran and a Super Bowl winning linebacker. His only other head-coaching experience came at the high school level at Long Beach Poly.
Davis was ultimately impressed enough with Pierce to bypass the urge to go for a flashier option such as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
The Raiders’ best player, defensive end Maxx Crosby, made a strong stance for Pierce and fans chanted his name as he departed the field after a season-finale win over Denver.
Two years, Davis disappointed a lot of people by not naming interim coach Rich Bisaccia the full-time head coach. Davis clearly learned from that experience.
Next steps for the #Raiders: Hire a GM and build out Pierce’s coaching staff. Tom Coughlin, who consulted for Pierce during the season, will be among those helping him identify and hire assistants. https://t.co/PlBqy049b9— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 19, 2024
The Raiders still need to hire a general manager and interim GM Champ Kelly and Colts assistant GM Ed Dobbs are considered top candidates.
As expected, there will be changes on the offensive ball as interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree won’t be retained. Offensive lien coach Carmen Bricillo is already gone and with the New York Giants.
First task for #Raiders coach Antonio Pierce: Address the offensive side of the ball, as most coaches won't be retained.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 19, 2024
Interim OC Bo Hardegree leaves Las Vegas with plenty of play-calling experience, helping this offense and its young QB thrive late this season. Now available.
Also, Marvin Lewis is expected to be part of the next staff.
As Antonio Pierce hires staff in Las Vegas, one name expected to be there is former #Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 19, 2024
Pierce brought in Lewis -- who coached him in Washington -- to help him after getting the interim job. Now Lewis is expected to be on staff in a more formal capacity.