Two current NFL assistant coaches, Dick LeBeau and Tom Moore, along with retired assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia have been selected as the Class of 2015 for the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
The Dr. Z Award is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL. The award is named for Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated's lead pro football writer.
Zimmerman’s writing career was cut short by a series of strokes in November 2008 that left him unable to speak, read and write. But his impact on the writing and football industries was profound. He's widely considered one of the best football writers of all time, and his 1970 “A Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football” and revised 1984 “The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” are textbooks to this day for young football writers trying to learn the game and trying to learn to write about the game. He was an offensive lineman at Stanford and Columbia, played on the offensive line for a U.S. Army team and a semi-pro football team. His first shot at covering pro football regularly was for the New York Post in 1966. In 1979, he moved to SI. When he was struck down, Zimmerman was still writing multiple columns a week for the magazine and its website, SI.com. He lives in Mountain Lakes, N.J., with his wife, Linda.
Dick LeBeau – In his 43rd season as a NFL coach, LeBeau is in his first year as assistant head coach/defense for the Tennessee Titans. After a 14-year NFL career at cornerback (1959-72) with the Detroit Lions which led to his enshrinement as a player into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, LeBeau went into the NFL coaching ranks immediately after his retirement as a player as the special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-75). He was the defensive backs coach with the Green Bay Packers (1976-79) then moved to the Cincinnati Bengals as the defensive backs coach (1980-83) and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach (1984-91). LeBeau was secondary coach (1992-94) and defensive coordinator (1995-96) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, before re-joining the Bengals as the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator (1997-2000). After only three games into the 2000 season, LeBeau was named Bengals head coach, and served in that role through the 2002 season. In 2003, he was the assistant head coach of the Buffalo Bills before going back to Pittsburgh as defensive coordinator (2004-14). LeBeau is considered the architect of the zone blitz scheme, and he has coached in six Super Bowls (XVI and XXIII with Cincinnati; XXX, XL, XLIII and XLV with Pittsburgh).