Rich Bisaccia has waited a long time for a chance to become a head coach. Bisaccia, who is in his 20th season in the NFL coaching special teams, has sought a head coaching job the past few years without luck.
Then, the unexpected happened: Years-old abominable emails written by Jon Gruden were leaked publicly, prompting the Las Vegas head coach’s abrupt resignation Monday. Bisaccia served under Gruden for 11 seasons, first with the Bucs and then rejoining Gruden with the Raiders in 2018.
“We have to be accountable to our words and our actions,” Bisaccia said Wednesday, via Tashan Reed of TheAthletic.com. “No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It’s important to live those ideals and carry them into the future. We cannot change the past, but we can do more to maybe make tomorrow better.”
The Raiders quickly named Bisaccia the interim head coach Monday. He began his new job Tuesday and conducted his first news conference as interim head coach Wednesday.
“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation; no one wants to be put in front of this under these particular circumstances,” Bisaccia said. “But it’s an incredible opportunity, not only for me, but for all the other coaches to see what we can do with this adversity, see what we can do with this challenge.”
No one in the locker room or the front office has expressed concern about Bisaccia’s long relationship with Gruden. Defensive end Maxx Crosby called Bisaccia “one of the greatest men I know . . . and a great leader.”
“He’s got as much respect in the locker room — in our locker room — as any coach I’ve ever seen in my life,” Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock said about Bisaccia. “Is he a great coach? Hell yeah. But he’s an even better man. And what I’ve always told people when I’ve endorsed him is that he’s the most natural leader of men that I’ve ever been around.”
Mayock, Bisaccia, owner Mark Davis and the team’s captains addressed the locker room about Gruden’s emails and resignation, per Reed.
Now begins the process of trying to move on.
“We have a good team,” Bisaccia said. “We have high expectations. We have high standards. . . . There’s a bump in the road; it’s not the end of the road.”