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.
- TE Brandon Pettigrew had 83 receptions in 2011 (third in the NFL among tight ends), establishing a new team single-season record for receptions by a tight end. 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.
- With 5 touchdown catches last season by Pettigrew combined with TE Tony Scheffler’s career-high 6 touchdown receptions, Pettigrew and Scheffler were the second pair of Lions tight ends in team history to each register 5 touchdown catches each in a season. In 1976, Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders and TE David Hill each recorded 5 touchdown receptions.
- In 2010, Pettigrew had one of the best seasons ever for a Lions tight end in 2010 while returning from a knee injury sustained late in his rookie year. He started all 16 games and was second on the team with 71 receptions for 722 yards – both of which were the most by a tight end in team history – and four touchdowns. Pettigrew had the third most receptions (71) and was seventh in receiving yards (722) among all NFL tight ends.
- TE Tony Scheffler finished with 45 receptions (378 yards) in 2010 and the Lions were the only team in the NFL to have two tight ends with 45 or more receptions. Pettigrew and Scheffler combined for 116 catches, the second most by a tight end pair in the NFL.
- 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.
- Veteran tight end Will Heller also flourished in 2009, setting career-highs with 29 receptions, 296 yards and three touchdowns.
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.
LAPPANO'S COACHING BACKGROUND
Detroit Lions 2009-present
• Wide Receivers 2013-present
• Tight Ends 2009-2012
• Offensive Coordinator & Quarterback Coach 2005-2008
San Francisco 49ers 2003-2004
• Running Backs Coach 2003-2004
Oregon State 1999-2002
• Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach 1999-2002
Seattle Seahawks 1998
• Running Backs Coach 1998
• Co-Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers Coach 1997
• Wide Receivers Coach 1996
• Assistant Head Coach & Running Backs Coach 1992-1995
Washington State 1987-1991
• Offensive Coordinator 1989-1991
• Running Backs Coach 1987-1988
• Running Backs Coach 1986
• Running Backs Coach 1982-1985