|Years Coached||Record||Win %||Playoff record||Playoff win %|
Dom Capers is a football coach in the National Football League (NFL) and has been the senior defensive assistant coach for the Detroit Lions since 2021. Prior to this season, he coached for the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings for thirty-three seasons. His most recent position was with the Vikings as their senior defensive assistant coach. During his career he was a head coach for eight seasons, first with the Carolina Panthers. He led the Panthers for four seasons, compiling a record of 30-34-0. His next head coaching stint was with the Houston Texans from 2002 to 2005, as he led the team to a 18-46-0 record. During his entire head coaching career, his two teams combined for a record of 48-80-0 across eight seasons including going 1-1-0 in the playoffs.
Capers won the NFL's Coach of the Year award in 1996 after guiding the Panthers to a 12-4-0 record and a a berth in the playoffs. As the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers he coached one player to an award-winning season: Rod Woodson, AP Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. As the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers he coached one player to an award-winning season: Charles Woodson, AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Dom Capers Coaching Tree
Before he was a head coach, Capers served as an assistant coach for Jim E. Mora (Sr.), Bill Cowher, Tom Coughlin, Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy, Doug Marrone, Mike Zimmer, and Dan Campbell. Nine of these years were spent on McCarthy's coaching staff. During his time as head coach, two assistant coaches, (Vic Fangio and Robert Saleh) on his coaching staff were hired as head coaches across the league. His coaching tree has combined for a record of 16-29-0 in the regular season and 0-0 in the playoffs during their four seasons as head coach after serving on his coaching staffs.
Capers was born on Monday, August 7, 1950 in Cambridge, Ohio.
Table of Contents
- 1 Playing Career
- 2 Coaching Career
- 2.1 College Coaching
- 2.2 Professional Coaching
Mount Union College
Dom Capers played college football for Mount Union College from 1968-1971, playing safety and linebacker. Mount Union posted winning seasons in every season Capers played, peaking at 8-1 in 1970.
Kent State University
After graduating from Mount Union, Capers began his coaching career at nearby Kent State University. From 1972-1974 Capers worked as a graduate assistant coach. In his first season, Kent State won the MAC title and made their second ever bowl appearance. The next two years, the team won more games than 1972 but failed to reach another bowl. Capers graduated after the 1974 season.
University of Hawaii
In 1975 Capers was hired by the University of Hawaii as the team's new defensive backs coach. In his two seasons with the school the team went 9-13 under head coach Larry Price.
San Jose State
In 1977, Capers was hired by San Jose State University to coach the defensive backs for the team. Head coach Lynn Stiles led the team to a 4-7 record.
University of California
After his single season at San Jose State, Capers was hired by the University of California in 1978 for two seasons by new head coach Roger Theder. The team finished 6-5 and 7-5 during Capers time with the school.
University of Tennessee
Following his two seasons with San Jose State, Capers was hired by the University of Tennessee in 1980 as the defensive backs coach for another two-year-stint with a school. Between 1980 and 1981, the school went 13-10 with one bowl appearance.
Ohio State University
After Tennessee, Capers was hired for his final college coaching position when he accepted Ohio State's defensive backs coaching position in 1982. He remained there through the 1983 season.
Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (USFL)
Capers began his professional coaching career in the USFL for the Philadelphia Stars under head coach Jim E. Mora (Sr.) in 1984. Continuing his career as a defensive backs coach, the Stars won the USFL title in 1984. However in the offseason, the Stars moved to Baltimore due to scheduling conflicts introduced by the USFL moving to the fall. Despite the move, the Stars repeated as USFL champions in 1985--the final year of the USFL's operations.
New Orleans Saints
In 1986, with the USFL now-defunct, Capers followed Mora to the NFL when Mora accepted the head coaching job from the New Orleans Saints. Capers was hired as the team's defensive backs coach, the same position he held under Mora with the Stars. During Capers six year tenure with the team (until 1991), the team made the playoffs three times (the first three berths in franchise history).
In 1992, Capers accepted the defensive coordinator position with the Pittsburgh Steelers under new head coach Bill Cowher. This was the first time in Capers' career he was in charge of the entire defense. The Steelers continued to have stout defenses under Capers, finishing in the top-three in the league in two of his three seasons in Pittsburgh. In addition to the successes of the defense, the Steelers made the playoffs each of the three seasons Capers was there, winning the division in 1992 and 1994. After the 1994 season, Capers won the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year award.
In 1995, Capers was hired as the head coach of one of the latest expansion team, the Carolina Panthers. In their inaugural season the Panthers won seven games, setting the record for most by an expansion team in their first season. The team success carried on through the next season as the Panthers won their last seven games to finish the season 12-4 and winning the NFC West. The team advanced to the NFC Championship game, eventually being defeated by the Green Bay Packers. After the 1996 season, Capers won the AP Coach of the Year award for the rapid ascent of the Panthers. However, the Panthers would regress the next two seasons and Capers was fired following the 1998 season.
After his head coaching stint, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars (who also joined the league in 1995) as the team's new defensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin. The Jaguars finished the 1999 season at 14-2 and lost in the AFC Championship game. Capers again won the Assistant Coach of the Year award. The Jaguars stumbled to 7-9 record in his second, and final, season with the team.
After the 2000 season, Capers was announced as the head coach of the newest expansion team: the Houston Texans. In the year before the team played its first game, Capers hired his staff and began preparing for the 2002 season. The Texans became the first expansion team in league history to win their first game and they would finish their inaugural season 4-12. From 2002 through 2005, Capers final season with the team, the Texans did not achieve a winning record, peaking at 7-9 in 2004. Following a disappointing 2005 season where the Texans only won two games, Capers was fired.
After he was fired from the Texans, he was hired by Dolphin's head coach Nick Saban with the title of special assistant to the head coach. However, Saban left the Dolphins after the 2006 season to return to college football. Capers was retained by incoming head coach Cam Cameron as his defensive coordinator. However, Cameron only lasted one season as the Dolphins finished 1-15.
New England Patriots
After his tenure with the Dolphins ended, he was hired by Bill Belichick with the title of Special Assistant-Secondary. In his sole season with the New England Patriots, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002 despite winning 11 games.
Green Bay Packers
After his single season with the Patriots, he was hired by the Green Bay Packers as he returned to his role as defensive coordinator. At the conclusion of the season, Capers was named Coordinator of the Year by Sporting News as his coaching helped Charles Woodson to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. 2009 was also a major statistical year for the entire defense as the team achieved the #1 ranking against the run (first time in franchise history) and also led the league in interceptions (first time since 1965). The Packers continued the success going into the next season as they won the Super Bowl for the 2010 season.
The 2011 Packers were even better as they finished the regular season 15-1 behind a league-leading defense in takeaways (38, tied with San Francisco) and interceptions (31). In the next several years, the Packers continued to make the playoffs and have strong representation in the NFL Pro Bowl with 14 appearances by defensive players (6th most from 2009-2014).
|2021 Detroit Lions||Senior Defensive Assistant Coach||0-7-0||0-0|
|2020 Minnesota Vikings||Senior Defensive Assistant Coach||7-9-0||0-0|
|2019 Jacksonville Jaguars||Senior Defensive Assistant Coach||6-10-0||0-0|
|2017 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||7-9-0||0-0|
|2016 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||10-6-0||2-1|
|2015 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||10-6-0||1-1|
|2014 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||12-4-0||1-1|
|2013 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||8-7-1||0-1|
|2012 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||11-5-0||1-1|
|2011 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||15-1-0||0-1|
|2010 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||10-6-0||4-0|
|2009 Green Bay Packers||Defensive Coordinator||11-5-0||0-1|
|2008 New England Patriots||Special Assistant-Secondary||11-5-0||0-0|
|2007 Miami Dolphins||Defensive Coordinator||1-15-0||0-0|
|2006 Miami Dolphins||Special Assistant to the Head Coach||6-10-0||0-0|
|2005 Houston Texans||Head Coach||2-14-0||0-0|
|2004 Houston Texans||Head Coach||7-9-0||0-0|
|2003 Houston Texans||Head Coach||5-11-0||0-0|
|2002 Houston Texans||Head Coach||4-12-0||0-0|
|2000 Jacksonville Jaguars||Defensive Coordinator||7-9-0||0-0|
|1999 Jacksonville Jaguars||Defensive Coordinator||14-2-0||1-1|
|1998 Carolina Panthers||Head Coach||4-12-0||0-0|
|1997 Carolina Panthers||Head Coach||7-9-0||0-0|
|1996 Carolina Panthers||Head Coach||12-4-0||1-1|
|1995 Carolina Panthers||Head Coach||7-9-0||0-0|
|1994 Pittsburgh Steelers||Defensive Coordinator||12-4-0||1-1|
|1993 Pittsburgh Steelers||Defensive Coordinator||9-7-0||0-1|
|1992 Pittsburgh Steelers||Defensive Coordinator||11-5-0||0-1|
|1991 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||11-5-0||0-1|
|1990 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||8-8-0||0-1|
|1989 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||9-7-0||0-0|
|1988 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||10-6-0||0-0|
|1987 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||12-3-0||0-1|
|1986 New Orleans Saints||Defensive Backs Coach||7-9-0||0-0|
Coach history guide
|Seasons with a championship win||Seasons with a conference championship|
- Years as head coach: 8
- Years as a coordinator: 15
- Championships won: 2010
- Conference Championships won: 2010
- Coach of the Year: 1996
- Led the league in wins: 1999, 2011, 2014
- Third in total wins for the Carolina Panthers.
- Third in total wins for the Houston Texans.
- Third in winning percentage for the Carolina Panthers.
- Third in winning percentage for the Houston Texans.
- Past teams coached for: Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints
- College Attended: Mount Union Purple Raiders
- Position Played: 0
- Date of Birth: Monday, August 7, 1950 (71 years old), Cambridge, Ohio