Tim Lappano has served as the Lions tight ends coach for the past four seasons and will coach the team’s wide receivers in 2013. Before coming to Detroit, Lappano served four seasons (2005-08) as the offensive coordinator at the University of Washington. He is entering his 31st season as a coach and his eighth in the NFL.
Under Lappano, TE Brandon Pettigrew has been one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL since 2009. In back-to-back seasons, he broke and then re-set the team’s single-season records for tight ends in both receptions (71 in 2010 and 83 in 2011) and receiving yards (722 in 2010 and 777 in 2011). He is the first tight end in Lions history to record 70 receptions in two different seasons and the first tight end with 80 catches.
In 2011, Pettigrew (5) combined with TE Tony Scheffler’s career-high 6 touchdown receptions to become the second pair of Lions tight ends in team history to each register 5 touchdown catches each in a season (Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders and TE David Hill each recorded 5 touchdown receptions in 1975).
In 2009, Pettigrew led all rookie tight ends in receptions (30) and yards (346) despite being forced out of the lineup after 11 games with a season-ending knee injury.
LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS: The Lions’ tight ends continue be big contributors to the offense under Lappano’s direction.
Lappano's last pro coaching opportunity was with San Francisco where he was the running backs coach. In his first season with the 49ers, their running game was third in the NFC with 2,279 yards as FB Fred Beasley made his first Pro Bowl appearance and RB Kevan Barlow rushed for a career-high 1,024 yards despite starting only four games.
In 1998, Lappano made his NFL coaching debut as the running backs coach for the Seahawks. There he helped Ricky Watters rush for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns, earning team Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In between, Lappano was the offensive coordinator at Oregon State (2000-02) and contributed heavily to the resurgence of the Beavers program. OSU led the Pac-10 in rushing yards (1,933) and in rushing offense, averaging 148.7 yards per game in 2002. Current St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson led the conference with 1,690 yards while earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors.
Lappano began his coaching career as the running backs coach at the University of Idaho where he was a four-year letterman after finishing his collegiate career as the school's second all-time leading rusher with 2,196 yards. In 1985, he helped the Vandals to a Big Sky Conference championship before leaving to coach running backs for Wyoming (1986). He then served as running backs coach at Washington State (1987-88) before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 1989. In his first season as offensive coordinator, he led the Cougars to a top-10 finish with former NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe and Pac-10 Offensive Player-of-the-Year, running back Steve Broussard.
Lappano moved on to the University of California in 1992 as assistant head coach and running backs coach. While in Berkeley, Lappano coached Heisman Trophy candidate Russell White and helped lead Cal to an Alamo Bowl victory over Iowa in 1993. He returned to Wyoming in 1996 as receivers coach, helping the Cowboys to an WAC Championship while coaching All-American Marcus Harris to the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver.
In 1997, Lappano joined the Purdue coaching staff as co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten in offense that season and ranked seventh in the nation.
Lappano earned a bachelor's degree in general studies at Idaho in 1983. He played high school football at Gonzaga Preparatory School in his native Spokane, WA and earned All-State honors as a senior. Lappano and his wife, Sandi, have two sons, Taylor and Kyle.