Dolphins make Gase NFL's youngest coach

MIAMI (AP) Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was hired Saturday as the Miami Dolphins’ ninth coach since 2004, and he’ll try to end the team’s seven-year playoff drought.
Gase was the NFL’s hottest coaching candidate among assistants, and at 37, he becomes the league’s young coach.
He also interviewed with the Eagles, Browns and Giants and had been considered the front-runner for the Dolphins job.
He was offensive coordinator for two years in Denver before joining the Bears.
”I’ve been in this profession since I was 18,” Gase said at an introductory news conference. ”That’s more than half my life. The last three years it’s an accelerated growth. Age is only a number. You get older really quick. Every week is a growing experience.”
The Dolphins chose Gase after interviewing six other candidates.
”I want to win Super Bowls, not just make the playoffs,” owner Stephen Ross said. ”Adam Gase puts us in the best position to win Super Bowls.”
Gase has no head coaching experience, but has been a target of NFL coaching searches for at least three years. A year ago he followed coach John Fox from Denver to Chicago after interviewing for head jobs with the Bears, Bills and Falcons.
Gase is a protege of former Dolphins coach Nick Saban and has won favorable reviews for his work with a range of quarterback talent – from Peyton Manning to Jay Cutler to Tim Tebow.
Manning said Gase is bright, eager and a hard worker.
”He’ll be an excellent head coach without a doubt,” Manning said in a statement released by the Dolphins. ”He is ready for this for sure.”
Said Cutler: ”I wish he could stay with us in Chicago. … He will now continue to have success in this league.”
In Miami, Gase will try to help Ryan Tannehill, who is 29-35 in four years as a starter and regressed in 2015, when the Dolphins finished 6-10.
Executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, who led the job search, had success while with the Jets hiring first-time NFL head coaches Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan.
That approach hasn’t worked with the coaching carousel in Miami, where none of Gase’s eight most recent predecessors had previous NFL head coaching experience.
Miami’s nine coaches since 2004 are the most in the NFL, according to STATS. Like Gase, the Dolphins’ three most recent offseason hires were assistants – Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin.
They did interview former head coaches Mike Shanahan, Mike Smith and Doug Marrone this week.
Others interviewed included Dolphins interim coach, Dan Campbell, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Bills running backs coach and assistant head coach Anthony Lynn.
But from the start, there was a buzz about Gase. During his single season with the Bears, they won only six games and ranked 17th in offensive points, but he helped Cutler reduce his turnovers and post a career-high passer rating of 92.3.
Gase spent six seasons on the staff in Denver, where he helped Tebow win a playoff game.
In his first season as offensive coordinator in 2013, Manning and the Broncos scored an NFL-record 606 points and reached the Super Bowl. The following year they scored 482 points, the league’s second-highest total.
A native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, Gase worked on the staff of Michigan State coach Nick Saban while a student there. He followed Saban to LSU and was a graduate assistant and recruiting assistant before beginning his NFL career in 2003.
Saban coached the Dolphins in 2005-06. He’s one of their eight coaches since their most recent playoff victory in 2000.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/steven-wine