Marwan Maalouf has been in coaching for eight years, most recently with the Cleveland Browns and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg. Now, he rejoins Rosburg in Baltimore, where he'll be assistant special teams coach. BR.com sat down with Maalouf, a former All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection as an offensive lineman at Baldwin-Wallace College, to learn more about the new Raven.
BR.com: What was your transition like from player to coach?
Maalouf: "I actually have an interesting background. When I was at Baldwin-Wallace, the college has a big relationship with the Tressel family [Jim Tressel is the head coach for Ohio State, and his father, Lee, was head coach at Baldwin-Wallace]. This past weekend, they actually donated a lot of money for a new field there.
"I worked with Jim Tressel's mom, a museum curator for the athletic archives, my sophomore year. I always had a fascination with coaching and recruiting. She exposed me to so many people. We would go to events where Joe Paterno was there, or sit at a table with other great coaches. Meeting so many coaches around that time really gave me a passion for the profession."
Baldwin-Wallace is in Berea, Ohio, right outside of Cleveland, and you're from Strongsville, Ohio. What was it like coaching for the home team?
"Coincidence? Luck? I never expected it. Butch Davis hired me, and Jerry and I were retained when Romeo Crennel came in. I actually never thought I'd be in Cleveland, never mind with the Browns. It just ended up happening. I had a good experience there with Jerry. We got pretty close, and to learn his system is huge. Normally, a B-W guy doesn't think he's going to be at that level with that team, but it worked out.
How has it been reuniting with coach Rosburg?
"In this business, you get to be a fan of people. I'm a fan of John Harbaugh. I'm a fan of Jerry Rosburg. I'm happy to be with those guys, because we're going to put a good product out on the field here in Baltimore now."
You also coached with Ravens offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg at Rutgers.
"Yeah, I actually GA'd for Craig there. He was the offensive coordinator then. You never know where a guy is going to end up. I had a tremendous respect for Craig when he was at Rutgers. We kept in touch through email every now and again. He's a sharp guy, so to be working with him again on the same staff is great. It's crazy how you have all these connections in the coaching world, but it does seem like it goes full-circle sometimes."
What is it like having a former special teams coordinator in John Harbaugh as the head coach?
"For me, it's great. It's funny, because some guys are leery when the head coach was a quarterbacks coach in the past, for example. The quarterbacks coach on that staff might think the guy is watching him and always be on pins and needles. But to have John and his background on special teams, it's a luxury. You have three sets of eyes watching special teams now. When he comes and gives you a point in practice, you are really thankful. You're coaching up to 40 guys at a time. Jerry and I split them up, but it's not like a quarterbacks coach who has three or four guys to coach. Having an extra set of eyes in there is very helpful."
How have you viewed the Ravens' roster moves this offseason, which seem to have an eye on special teams?
"When you strengthen a roster, the bottom half of your roster has to be strong, and if they're not playing special teams, you have a great set of starters, but then what? To me, what our personnel department has done is really bolster that part of our roster and create some great competition. Guys know that we have three pretty good receivers, so they're thinking, 'Man, I have to play on special teams.' The same goes for the cornerbacks, linebackers and on down the line. We're going to have some guys on this roster now that we have to cut, but they'll definitely get picked up by another team."
Personally, have you made the transition to Baltimore?
"Definitely. I've got the townhouse and all that. The best part is that my family's been very supportive. Having a family that is going to be wearing purple when we're playing the Browns is pretty awesome. They're fans of wherever I am. John does a great job of emphasizing family around here, too, so you know you're working for the right guy."