Nick Sirianni Taps into His Network to Land D.K. McDonald

The Eagles head coach reached into his past for a late-coaching hire
Author:
Publish date:

PHILADELPHIA - With a vacancy on his coaching staff late in the process, Nick Sirianni went back to his roots and hired a long-time friend to help Dennard Wilson with the Eagles secondary then added another coach from deep in his past.

Sirianni and the Eagles hired former Iowa State secondary coach D.K. McDonald, a hire confirmed by SI.com's Eagle Maven. The two were on the same coaching staff at The Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2006-08. Sirianni was the WR coach at IUP and McDonald coached the defensive backs.

The dominos to the late hire started when Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer hired Alabama secondary coach Karl Scott to coach his defensive backs. Nick Saban had an opening with the Crimson Tide and got Jay Valai to agree to take the job less than 24 hours after he was officially announced as the Eagles assistant DBs coach.

To the Eagles' credit, they allowed Valai to take what was a better job and a pay raise and Sirianni went to work to get McDonald.

The two became good friends and even attended each other's weddings while the career paths set off in different directions.

Sirianni met Todd Haley and was in the NFL as a quality control coach with Kansas City by 2009, while McDonald stayed at IUP for two more seasons before a one-year stint at William and Mary predated a coupling with the highly-regarded Matt Campbell.

Campbell, who got some looks from NFL teams as a potential head coach in this hiring cycle, got the top job at Toledo in 2012 and hired McDonald to coach his cornerbacks. McDonald then stuck with Campbell for the last decade, making the move from the Rockets to the Cyclones in 2016.

Six NFL teams sent out at least feelers to Campbell, 39, in this hiring season before he signed an extension through the 2028 season with Iowa State. 

McDonald, however, found another path to the NFL with an old friend in Sirianni and the Eagles finally got a D.K., albeit not the one Eagles fans practiced in hindsight would prefer.

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.