Complete List Of Dallas Cowboys Head Coaches In Order

Dallas Cowboys Head Coaches In Order

Feature Photo: Jimmy Johnson / Shutterstock

The Dallas Cowboys, often referred to as “America’s Team,” are a professional American football team based in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Since their inception in 1960, the Cowboys have boasted a rich history filled with notable successes, including multiple Super Bowl victories. The team’s history is punctuated by the leadership of a diverse set of head coaches, each with their own unique background and impact on the franchise. Here’s an in-depth look at the head coaches that have led the Dallas Cowboys.

Tom Landry – 1960 -1988

  • Hometown: Mission, Texas
  • Player Career: New York Yankees (1949), New York Giants (1950–1955)
  • Defensive Coordinator: New York Giants (1954–1959)

Tom Landry, a legendary figure in the history of American football, is best known for his long and distinguished tenure as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a role he held from 1960 to 1988. Born on September 11, 1924, in Mission, Texas, Landry’s journey to becoming one of the most respected coaches in NFL history began far from the football field.

Landry’s coaching career with the Dallas Cowboys is notable not just for its length but for its remarkable success. He guided the Cowboys to 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966 to 1985, a record in itself. Under his leadership, the Cowboys became known as “America’s Team,” a nickname that reflected their widespread popularity. Landry led the team to five Super Bowl appearances, winning two of them – Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII. His innovative strategies, including the development of the now-famous “4-3 defense” and the use of computer statistics for game planning, revolutionized football coaching.

Before his storied career with the Cowboys, Landry’s coaching journey began at the college level. He was a part-time assistant coach at the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater, for the 1947 season. However, it was in the professional ranks where Landry truly made his mark. He entered the NFL as a player-coach for the New York Giants in 1954 and transitioned to a full-time coaching role in 1955. As the defensive coordinator for the Giants, he helped lead the team to three NFL Championship games, winning one in 1956.

Throughout his career, Landry was recognized for his contributions to the sport. He was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1966 and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Landry’s legacy is not just in the records and championships he won but also in the disciplined, innovative approach he brought to coaching, influencing generations of coaches and players.

After an illustrious career, Tom Landry passed away on February 12, 2000. His impact on the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL at large remains profound, making him one of the most revered figures in the sport’s history.

Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993

  • Hometown: Port Arthur, Texas
  • Head Coach: Oklahoma State University (1979–1983), University of Miami (1984–1988)
  • Assistant Coach: Louisiana Tech University (1965), Wichita State University (1966–1967), University of Iowa State (1968–1969), University of Arkansas (1970–1972), University of Pittsburgh (1973–1976)

Jimmy Johnson’s journey in football coaching is a tale of remarkable success and innovation, spanning both college football and the NFL. Born on July 16, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Johnson’s coaching career is highlighted by his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys and his achievements in college football.

Johnson began his coaching career in college football. His first significant role was as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech University in 1965. He then moved to various assistant coaching positions at different universities, including Picayune Memorial High School in Mississippi, Wichita State, Iowa State, and Oklahoma, before landing his first head coaching job at Oklahoma State University in 1979. At Oklahoma State, he made a name for himself by transforming the team into a competitive force over his five-year tenure.

In 1984, Johnson took over as the head coach at the University of Miami, where his success continued. He led the Hurricanes to a national championship in 1987, solidifying his reputation as a top-tier coach. His time at Miami was marked by a high-powered offense and an aggressive, dominant defense.

Johnson’s leap to the NFL came in 1989 when he became the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, succeeding Tom Landry. With the Cowboys, he crafted one of the most successful teams of the early 1990s. He led the team to two consecutive Super Bowl victories in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII, in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, respectively. Johnson’s tenure with the Cowboys is noted for his part in building a dynasty, which included drafting key players like Emmitt Smith and implementing effective team strategies.

After leaving the Cowboys following the 1993 season, Johnson briefly worked as a TV analyst before returning to coaching with the Miami Dolphins in 1996. He led the Dolphins to three playoff appearances before retiring after the 1999 season.

Johnson’s coaching career is characterized by his ability to rebuild teams into championship contenders. His impact on both college and professional football is significant, earning him induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020. His legacy includes not only the championships and games won but also his innovative approach to team building and player development, influencing the game of football at multiple levels.

Barry Switzer (1994–1997)

  • Hometown: Crossett, Arkansas
  • Player Career: University of Arkansas (1956–1960)
  • Head Coach: University of Oklahoma (1973–1988)

Barry Switzer, a prominent figure in American football coaching, is known for his successful tenures in both college and professional football. Born on October 5, 1937, in Crossett, Arkansas, Switzer made a significant impact in the football world, marked by his unique coaching style and notable achievements.

Switzer’s coaching career is most celebrated for his time at the University of Oklahoma. He began as an assistant coach with the Sooners in 1966 under head coach Chuck Fairbanks. In 1973, he was elevated to the position of head coach, a role he would hold until 1988. During his tenure at Oklahoma, Switzer became one of the most successful college football coaches of his time. His teams won three national championships (1974, 1975, and 1985) and twelve Big Eight Conference titles. Known for his potent wishbone offense, Switzer’s Oklahoma teams were dominant, amassing a remarkable win-loss record and becoming a powerhouse in college football.

Switzer’s success at Oklahoma led him to the NFL, where he became the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1994. Taking over a talented team built by his predecessor, Jimmy Johnson, Switzer continued the Cowboys’ success. In 1995, he led the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXX, making him one of the few coaches to win both a college national championship and an NFL Super Bowl. Switzer’s time with the Cowboys was characterized by a high-powered offense and strong team management.

After leaving the Cowboys in 1997, Switzer moved away from coaching but remained a well-known figure in the football community. His career was marked not only by his coaching achievements but also by his charismatic and sometimes controversial personality, which made him a distinctive and memorable figure in the sport.

Switzer’s legacy in football is defined by his record of success, his innovative offensive strategies, and his ability to motivate and manage players. His contributions to both college and professional football have cemented his status as one of the notable coaches in the history of the sport.

Chan Gailey (1998–1999)

  • Hometown: Gainesville, Georgia
  • Head Coach: Troy State University (1983–1984), Samford University (1993), Buffalo Bills (2010–2012)
  • Assistant Coach: Florida Gators (1976–1978), Air Force Falcons (1979–1982), Denver Broncos (1985–1990), Pittsburgh Steelers (1994–1997), Miami Dolphins (2000–2001), Kansas City Chiefs (2008)

Chan Gailey is a respected figure in the world of American football coaching, known for his extensive experience across both college and professional levels. Born Thomas Chandler Gailey Jr. on January 5, 1952, in Gainesville, Georgia, Gailey has carved out a significant career in football, marked by various coaching roles and achievements.

Gailey’s coaching career began in the college ranks. After serving as a graduate assistant at the University of Florida, his alma mater, in 1974-75, he took on various assistant coaching roles at Troy State University, Air Force Academy, and University of Florida again. His first head coaching position came at Troy State University (1983-84), where he led the team to a Division II playoff appearance.

In 1988, Gailey made his NFL debut as a special teams and tight ends coach with the Denver Broncos. He then served as the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-97) and Dallas Cowboys (1998-99). His NFL coaching career took a significant turn when he was named the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1998, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure with the Cowboys, Gailey led the team to two playoff appearances.

After his stint with the Cowboys, Gailey returned to college football as the head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002 to 2007. Under his leadership, Georgia Tech made six consecutive bowl appearances and consistently competed in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Gailey returned to the NFL in 2008 as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He then served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2010 to 2012. Although his time with the Bills didn’t yield a playoff appearance, Gailey was recognized for his offensive acumen.

Following his head coaching role with the Bills, Gailey took a brief hiatus from coaching before returning as the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets in 2015 and 2016. His approach to offense was often characterized by adaptability and innovation, fitting systems to the strengths of his players.

Gailey’s coaching career is notable for its breadth and adaptability. He has coached at various levels and positions, from college to the NFL, and has been respected for his offensive strategies and player development skills. Gailey’s journey through football coaching has left a mark in the various teams and players he has led and influenced.

Dave Campo (2000–2002)

  • Hometown: Groton, Connecticut
  • Assistant Coach: University of Pittsburgh (1973–1977), University of Washington (1978–1981), University of Miami (1982–1988), Dallas Cowboys (1989–1999, 2003–2004), Cleveland Browns (2005–2008), Jacksonville Jaguars (2010–2012)

Dave Campo, a seasoned figure in the realm of American football coaching, has made a significant impact both in college football and the NFL. Born on July 18, 1947, in Groton, Connecticut, Campo’s coaching career spans several decades, characterized by a variety of roles and notable contributions to the teams he has worked with.

Campo’s journey in coaching began in the college ranks. He started as a graduate assistant at Central Connecticut State University in 1971. Over the next decade, he held assistant coaching positions at several universities, including Albany, Connecticut, Bridgeport, and Washington State, developing a reputation for his defensive acumen and coaching ability.

Campo transitioned to the NFL in 1989, joining the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive backs coach under head coach Jimmy Johnson, whom he had previously worked with at the University of Miami. During his time with the Cowboys, Campo was part of a coaching staff that led the team to significant success, including three Super Bowl victories in the 1990s (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX).

In 2000, Campo was promoted to head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a position he held for three seasons until 2002. His tenure as head coach was marked by a rebuilding phase for the team. Although the Cowboys did not make the playoffs during these years, Campo’s leadership and defensive expertise continued to be evident.

After his head coaching stint with the Cowboys, Campo returned to his roots as a defensive coach. He worked with the Cleveland Browns as a defensive coordinator and later rejoined the Dallas Cowboys as a secondary coach. Campo’s return to the Cowboys highlighted his enduring connection to the team and his expertise in defensive coaching.

Campo’s career later took him back to college football. He served as the defensive coordinator for the University of Kansas from 2012 to 2014, bringing his extensive NFL experience to the college level and contributing to the development of young players.

Throughout his career, Dave Campo has been recognized for his defensive knowledge, ability to develop players, and dedication to the sport. His journey through various coaching roles in both college and professional football has left a lasting impact on the teams and players he has worked with.

Bill Parcells (2003–2006)

  • Hometown: Englewood, New Jersey
  • Head Coach: New York Giants (1983–1990), New England Patriots (1993–1996), New York Jets (1997–1999) Dallas Cowboats (2003-2006)

Bill Parcells, a legendary figure in the realm of American football coaching, is celebrated for his transformative impact on the teams he led and his notable achievements in the NFL. Born Duane Charles Parcells on August 22, 1941, in Englewood, New Jersey, Parcells carved out a distinguished career that established him as one of the most influential coaches in football history.

Parcells’ most prominent role was as a head coach in the NFL, where he left an indelible mark. His NFL coaching career began with the New York Giants in 1983, and he quickly turned the team into a powerhouse. Under his leadership, the Giants won two Super Bowls (XXI and XXV). Parcells’ coaching style was characterized by a tough, disciplined approach that emphasized strong defense and ball-control offense.

After his successful tenure with the Giants, Parcells took on the head coaching role for the New England Patriots in 1993. He transformed the Patriots from a struggling team into a Super Bowl contender, leading them to Super Bowl XXXI, although they were defeated by the Green Bay Packers.

Parcells’ coaching journey then led him to the New York Jets in 1997. In just his second season with the Jets, he guided the team to the AFC Championship Game, showcasing his ability to rebuild and revitalize teams.

In 2003, Parcells came out of retirement to coach the Dallas Cowboys. He led the Cowboys to two playoff appearances before retiring again after the 2006 season. His tenure with the Cowboys further cemented his reputation as a coach who could turn struggling teams into winners.

Parcells concluded his NFL coaching career with a total of 172 wins, earning him a place among the most successful coaches in league history. His impact was not just in wins and losses but also in his leadership and ability to develop players and coaches. Many of his assistants and players went on to successful careers in the NFL.

For his outstanding contributions to football, Parcells was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. His legacy in the NFL is marked by his success across multiple teams, his influential coaching style, and his role in shaping the modern game of football. Bill Parcells is remembered not just for the championships he won but for the enduring mark he left on the sport.

Wade Phillips (2007–2010)

  • Hometown: Orange, Texas
  • Player Career: University of Houston (1965–1968)
  • Head Coach: Denver Broncos (1993–1994), Buffalo Bills (1998–2000), Houston Texans (2013), Los Angeles Rams (2016)
  • Defensive Coordinator: New Orleans Saints (1981–1985), Philadelphia Eagles (1986–1988), Denver Broncos (1989–1992, 1995–1998), Atlanta Falcons (2002–2003), San Diego Chargers (2004–2006), Houston Texans (2011–2013), Los Angeles Rams (2017–2019)

Wade Phillips, a respected and experienced figure in American football coaching, has had a significant impact in both college and professional football. Born on June 21, 1947, in Orange, Texas, Phillips is known for his expertise in defensive strategies and has held various coaching positions throughout his career, earning recognition for his contributions to the teams he has coached.

Phillips began his coaching career in the college ranks. He was a graduate assistant at the University of Houston in 1969, moving on to become a defensive line coach at Lutcher Stark High School in Orange, Texas. His college coaching career also included stints at Oklahoma State University and the University of Kansas.

In 1976, Phillips transitioned to the NFL, starting as a defensive line coach for the Houston Oilers. His NFL journey has been extensive, with coaching roles on several teams. He served as a defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, and Houston Texans. His defensive schemes and ability to adapt to different team dynamics have been highly regarded throughout the league.

Phillips’ most notable head coaching opportunity came with the Denver Broncos, where he served as head coach from 1993 to 1994. He later became the head coach of the Buffalo Bills (1998-2000) and the Dallas Cowboys (2007-2010). While his tenure as a head coach had mixed results, his teams often showcased strong defensive play, a hallmark of his coaching philosophy.

One of the highlights of Phillips’ career came during his time with the Denver Broncos as defensive coordinator under head coach Gary Kubiak. In 2015, he orchestrated one of the league’s top defenses, leading the Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50. This achievement underscored his reputation as one of the top defensive minds in football.

After his time with the Broncos, Phillips continued his NFL journey with the Los Angeles Rams as their defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2019, contributing to their Super Bowl LIII appearance.

Wade Phillips is widely respected for his defensive knowledge, his ability to connect with players, and his adaptable coaching style. His impact on the NFL, through various roles and across multiple teams, has solidified his status as one of the notable figures in American football coaching.

Jason Garrett (2011–2019)

  • Hometown: Abington, Pennsylvania
  • Player Career: Dallas Cowboys (1993–1999), New York Giants (2000–2003), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004), Miami Dolphins (2004)
  • Assistant Coach: Miami Dolphins (2005–2006), Dallas Cowboys (2007–2010)

Jason Garrett, a notable figure in the world of American football coaching, has had a significant impact both as a player and a coach. Born on March 28, 1966, in Abington, Pennsylvania, Garrett’s journey in football spans several roles, from quarterback to head coach, leaving a lasting impression in the NFL.

Garrett’s coaching career is most renowned for his time with the Dallas Cowboys. After retiring as a player, he began his coaching career in 2005 as the quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. His aptitude for coaching quarterbacks and offensive strategy was quickly recognized, leading to a significant opportunity with the Dallas Cowboys.

In 2007, Garrett returned to the Dallas Cowboys, the team he once played for, as the offensive coordinator. His work with the Cowboys’ offense was highly successful, leading to his promotion as the interim head coach in 2010, following the midseason dismissal of Wade Phillips. Garrett’s performance as interim head coach earned him the full-time head coaching position, which he held from 2011 to 2019.

During his tenure as the head coach of the Cowboys, Garrett led the team to three playoff appearances and was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 2016. His time in Dallas was characterized by a strong offensive philosophy, player development, and leading the team to consistently competitive seasons.

Garrett’s approach as a coach was often highlighted by his focus on character development and leadership, both on and off the field. He emphasized the importance of building a cohesive team culture and maintaining high standards of professionalism.

After his time with the Cowboys, Garrett joined the New York Giants as the offensive coordinator in 2020, bringing his extensive experience and offensive expertise to the role. His journey in coaching, marked by his transition from a player to a coach and his tenure with one of the NFL’s most high-profile teams, reflects a deep understanding of the game and a commitment to developing football talent.

Jason Garrett’s career in football, both as a player and a coach, showcases his enduring influence in the NFL and his contributions to the teams and players he has worked with. His journey is a testament to his knowledge of the game, his leadership qualities, and his ability to adapt and succeed in various roles within the sport.

Mike McCarthy (2020–Present)

  • Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Head Coach: Green Bay Packers (2006–2018)
  • Assistant Coach: Kansas City Chiefs (1995–1998), Green Bay Packers (1999), New Orleans Saints (2000–2004), San Francisco 49ers (2005), Dallas Cowboys (2020-present)

Mike McCarthy, an accomplished figure in the NFL coaching landscape, has had a notable career marked by success and innovation. Born on November 10, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McCarthy has established himself as a respected coach with a track record of developing successful offenses and leading teams to great achievements, including a Super Bowl victory.

McCarthy began his NFL coaching career in 1993 as a quality control assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs. He quickly progressed through the coaching ranks, serving as quarterbacks coach for the Chiefs and later as the quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers in 1999. His proficiency in developing quarterbacks and designing offensive schemes was evident early in his career.

In 2000, McCarthy moved to the New Orleans Saints as their offensive coordinator, a role he held until 2004. During his tenure with the Saints, the team’s offense ranked consistently high in the NFL, showcasing his strategic and play-calling abilities.

McCarthy’s next role was with the San Francisco 49ers as their offensive coordinator in 2005. While the team struggled that year, McCarthy’s offensive knowledge and leadership qualities caught the attention of the Green Bay Packers, who named him their head coach in 2006.

McCarthy’s tenure with the Packers, which lasted until 2018, was marked by significant achievements. He led the team to nine playoff appearances, including eight consecutive from 2009 to 2016, which is a franchise record. The pinnacle of his time in Green Bay came in the 2010 season when he guided the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XLV. His coaching style, characterized by a creative offensive approach and a quarterback-friendly system, was instrumental in the development and success of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

After parting ways with the Packers in 2018, McCarthy took a year off from coaching, during which he focused on studying the latest trends and developments in the NFL. This period of self-reflection and learning paved the way for his next coaching opportunity.

In 2020, McCarthy was named the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, taking over one of the most high-profile jobs in the NFL. His tenure with the Cowboys marks a new chapter in his coaching career, as he brings his offensive expertise and years of experience to a talented team.

Throughout his career, Mike McCarthy has been recognized for his offensive acumen, his ability to develop quarterbacks, and his consistent track record of leading teams to the playoffs. His contributions to the teams he has coached, particularly the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, have solidified his reputation as one of the notable coaches in the NFL.

Updated January 14, 2024

Complete List Of  Dallas Cowboys Head Coaches In Order article published on SportsInOrder.com© 2024

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