Head Coach/Specialist Coaching Staff

Get to know more about head coach Brad Childress, his special teams assistants, and strength and training staff.

Brad Childress, Head Coach: Brad Childress comes to the Vikings following seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, including the past four seasons as offensive coordinator.

"Coach Childress has the combination of integrity, experience and competitive spirit that were important in our search for a new Vikings coach," said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. "Being a key part of the winning program in Philadelphia and his respect throughout the NFL made Brad the best choice to lead the franchise into the future."

Childress has eight seasons of NFL coaching experience (1985-Indianapolis, 1999-2005 Philadelphia) and 28 seasons of pro and college coaching under his belt. His first stint on the sidelines came in 1978 at the University of Illinois.

During Childress' four seasons as Eagles offensive coordinator, the team represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX, amassed an NFC-leading 43-21 regular season record and won the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 NFC East titles. During his Eagles tenure the team had seven offensive players earn 14 berths in the Pro Bowl, and QB Donovan McNabb was runner-up for the Associated Press NFL MVP award in 2000.

Childress, born on June 27, 1956, is a native of Aurora, Ill., where he attended Marmion Military High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University. Childress and his wife, Dru-Ann, have four children — Cara, Kyle, Andrew and Christopher.

Paul Ferraro, Special Teams Coordinator: The Minnesota Vikings named Paul Ferraro special teams coordinator on Jan. 25, 2006. Ferraro came to the Vikings with 24 seasons of coaching experience and spent the 2005 season at NFC runner-up Carolina as special teams assistant/assistant strength and conditioning coach.

"Coach Ferraro is a life-long football coach," said Childress. "He's been very successful in the college ranks. The best tribute to him is his former employer, John Fox, said ‘He's a good football coach and he can do whatever you need him to do.' He'll do a great job coordinating our special teams."

The 2005 Panthers made an impressive run through the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the NFC, advancing to the NFC Championship game at Seattle after posting road wins against the NY Giants and No. 2-seeded Chicago Bears. The Panthers' special teams played a key role in the success of the team. Veteran kicker John Kasay made a career-high 42 of 44 FGs, including three from 50 yards or more, and his 121 points were third-best in the NFC and third-most of his career. Carolina turned to newly acquired punter Jason Baker in 2005 and he delivered by leading the NFC and ranking third in the NFL with a 38.9-yard net punting average, a career-best 43.3-yard gross average and career-high 20 punts inside the 20. Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith returned punts and ranked third in the NFC with a 10.6-yard average. The kickoff and punt coverage units were also impressive, ranking fifth in the NFL in punt return average allowed (6.5 yards) and 11th in kickoff return average allowed (21.3 yards).

Ferraro came to the Panthers in 2005 after serving from 2001-04 as the defensive coordinator at Rutgers. During his tenure with the Scarlet Knights, the team led the Big East in sacks, takeaways and third-down efficiency in 2004. The 2003 team was second in the Big East in pass defense and third-down efficiency. In 1999 and 2000, Ferraro coached the Georgia Tech defensive backs under head coach George O'Leary, who went on to serve as Vikings defensive coordinator. His longest tenure coaching was from 1991-98 at Bowling Green as defensive coordinator, where he helped build the Falcons into a Mid-America Conference power, going undefeated in consecutive seasons and winning bowl games in 1991 and '92.

A 1982 graduate of Springfield College, where he was an All-New England safety on the field, Ferraro began his coaching career at Massachusetts as a graduate assistant. He earned his master's degree from Syracuse in 1986.

Brian Murphy, Assistant Special Teams: Brian Murphy was named Vikings assistant special teams coach after working with the Wisconsin special teams and outside linebackers. During his tenure with the Badgers, Murphy oversaw the career punt return yardage leader in Wisconsin history in Jim Leonhard (1,347) and career kickoff return yards leader in Brandon Williams (2,349). In 2005, Williams returned a pair of punts for TDs to tie a school record and ended his career ranked second in Big Ten history for kickoff return yards. The 2005 Badgers featured P Kenny DeBauche, a first-team All-Big Ten honoree and the single-season school record holder in punting average.

Murphy has coached since 1992 with stops at Benedictine (IL), Wisconsin, Baylor, San Diego and Lehigh. He holds a bachelor's degree from Lehigh, where he played defensive line and earned his master's at Wisconsin.

Kevin Stefanski, Assistant to Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski was hired as an assistant to Childress. Stefanski spent the 2005 season working as assistant director of football operations at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. He spent the summer of 2005 on an internship in the Philadelphia Eagles operations department. As a collegiate player at Penn, Stefanski was a two-time honorable mention All-Ivy League choice at free safety. A team captain as a senior in 2004, Stefanski was part of three Ivy League championship teams in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Tom Kanavy, Strength and Conditioning: The Vikings named Tom Kanavy head strength and conditioning coach on Jan. 19, 2006. Kanavy became the Eagles' first full-time strength and conditioning assistant in 1997 after working with the team since 1995. Kanavy will be in his 12th NFL season in 2006 after being a part of Eagles teams that have amassed a 99-76-1 regular season record and advanced to the playoffs in seven of his 11 seasons with the club. Philadelphia claimed four consecutive NFC East crowns from 2001-04 and represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Kanavy worked under former Vikings strength and conditioning assistant Mike Wolf in Philadelphia. He earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State and master's from Temple. As an assistant at Penn State, Kanavy worked with the Nittany Lions football program as the 1994 team went 12-0 en route to the Big Ten championship in only the second season in the conference and a Rose Bowl win over Oregon.

Eric Sugarman, Trainer: The Minnesota Vikings named Eric Sugarman their head athletic trainer on Jan. 19, 2006. Sugarman will enter his 10th NFL season in 2006 after spending 2000-05 with Philadelphia and 1997-99 with the Chicago Bears.

In his six seasons with the Eagles, Sugarman has been a part of squads that have gone 65-31 in the regular season, won four NFC East championships, made the playoffs five times and the Super Bowl XXXIX team in 2004. Sugarman began his professional sports career as director of rehabilitation for the Chicago Cubs in 1996 after working in athletic training and serving as an instructor in 1994-95 at his alma mater, West Chester University.

Sugarman earned his bachelor's degree at West Chester and went on to earn his master's degree at the University of Richmond. In 2003, Sugarman earned the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society's "Big Heart" award for saving the life of a fellow employee by performing CPR in 2003.

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