Rod Marinelli has been coaching football since 1973. He doesn’t anticipate walking away from the game anytime soon.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator made it clear that he intends to coach for what would be his 45th season next year. Marinelli, 68, is under contract next season, although his job status is uncertain heading into the offseason.
Owner Jerry Jones intends to keep coach Jason Garrett in 2018, but has alluded to possible staff changes below Garrett. Regardless, Marinelli expects to be on the sidelines next season, whether in Dallas or elsewhere.
“Oh, I just love what I do. That’s obvious, right?” said Marinelli, whose first coaching job was at his high school, Rosemead High in Rosemead, Calif., back in 1973.
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“I love the interaction with the men to see them develop. That’s as fun for me as anything. I love being in a group with these men, watching them develop and improving them. And not just in football. There’s so many life skills in football if you really teach it right about the grind. It’s a daily grind.
“I really love it. There’s not one day that’s a bad day. They’re all great, so I just look forward to every day.”
Marinelli joined the Cowboys as their defensive line coach in 2013. He’s served as the defensive coordinator since 2014.
The Cowboys had the worst-ranked defense in 2013, but have improved each of the past four seasons under Marinelli.
They had the 19th-ranked defense in 2014; the 17th in 2015; the 14th in 2016; and enter the regular-season finale as the 11th this season.
The fire still burns for Marinelli, who hasn’t lost his intensity or passion for coaching players.
“If I’m not giving, I struggle,” Marinelli said. “If I’m not learning and passing it on, I struggle. I want to see growth in these men every day. Grow as real men, as real players, have the ability to respect their profession every day.
“I want this game to be the best thing on earth done the right way. That’s so important to me – how it’s done the right way. That’s one of my goals. Love the game, love the grass, love the coaches. I love all of it.”