Cam Cameron, the former Miami Dolphins head coach, is the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, it was announced today by new head coach John Harbaugh. The highly-sought Cameron earned the Dolphins' job after a successful 5-year run as the Chargers' offensive coordinator.
Cameron, who Harbaugh has known for 27 years, is acknowledged as one of the top developers of quarterbacks in the NFL. Prior to his 1-year stint in Miami, 4 of Cameron's last 5 starting QBs earned Pro Bowl or collegiate All-American recognition: Philip Rivers and Drew Brees in San Diego, Antwaan Randle El, when Cameron was the Indiana head coach, and Gus Frerotte, when Cam tutored the QBs for the Redskins.
"We're excited to get Cam, because he's a fine coach and a good person. He had other options," Harbaugh said. "Like me, he's a coach's son who lives and eats football. Because of that, we share many of the same philosophies about the game: We're going to be tough, we're going to be exciting, we're going to be disciplined, and we're going to play really hard. If we do those things on offense, and we take care of one another, good things will happen.
"Getting Cam makes this a very good day for the Ravens," Harbaugh added.
"John is a good man and a good friend. It was only a matter of time before he got this opportunity," Cameron said. "I'm really thrilled to be part of his staff and join a quality franchise like the Ravens. The first thing we'll do is look at a lot of video of the Ravens' offense and assess each player. I'm excited to get going."
Pedigreed and recognized as one of the top quarterback tutors in the game, Cameron, who started his coaching career as an assistant at Michigan (1984-93), developed several premier QBs, including former Raven and Pro Bowler Jim Harbaugh. Jim, who is the younger brother of the Ravens' newly-appointed head coach John Harbaugh, was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 1st round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
Under Cam's tutelage, Jim, a 4-year letterman for the Wolverines, finished his college career in the top 5 in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and TD passes. He was a 3-year starter and led Michigan to appearances in the Fiesta and Rose Bowl games. Jim led the nation in passing efficiency and quarterbacked one of Michigan's best-ever teams as a junior. In 1985, the team posted a 10-1-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in the final polls. In 1986, Jim guided Michigan to an 11-2 record and Rose Bowl berth before being drafted in the 1st round by the Bears in 1987.
Cameron served the 1st 6 of his years at Michigan under the late Bo Schembechler. He started as a graduate assistant before working as the wide receivers coach from 1986-89. In addition to the WRs, he coached the QBs from 1990-93, including 1991, when the Wolverines' WR Desmond Howard won the Heisman Trophy. During his 10 years as an assistant at Michigan, the program won 6 Big Ten titles and played in 10 bowl games. In addition to Howard, Cameron was the position coach for future NFL players such as QBs Elvis Grbac and Todd Collins, in addition to WRs Derrick Alexander (former Raven) and Amani Toomer, among others.
Grbac ended his Michigan career under Cameron as one of the most prolific passers in school history. He finished in 1992 as the school record holder in 8 different career passing categories, including completion percentage (62.5), completions (522), yards passing (6,460), TDs (71) and passing efficiency (148.14). He was the NCAA leader in passing efficiency in both 1991 (169.0) and 1992 (150.18) and was a finalist for the 1992 Johnny Unitas and Davey O'Brien Awards. In 1991, Grbac's 25 TDs set a school record, and that same year, along with Heisman winner Desmond Howard, the duo set the NCAA record for most TDs by the same QB/WR tandem in a career (31). It tied the NCAA single-season record for TDs by the same passer and receiver (19).
Cameron's 1st NFL coaching assignment came as the Redskins' QB coach from 1994-96. While serving on Norv Turner's staff, Cameron oversaw the development of 1994 7th-round pick Gus Frerotte, who became a Pro Bowler (1996), and Trent Green, who served as the team's 3rd QB from 1995-96 before eventually becoming a 2-time Pro Bowl QB for Kansas City (2003, 2005), and later joining Cameron in Miami.
As San Diego's offensive coordinator from 2002-2006, Cameron launched an offensive attack that gave the Chargers the jolt they needed. The team led the NFL in scoring in 2006 and finished 3rd and 5th in that category in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Over those 3 seasons (2004-2006), the Chargers amassed 1,356 points, a figure surpassed only by the Indianapolis Colts (1,388 points), a difference of only 32 points over 48 games. In addition, Cam was instrumental in the development of Pro Bowl performers Brees, Rivers, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, and TE Antonio Gates.
In 2006, the Chargers led the NFL in scoring with a team-record 492 points. It was the 3rd straight season the team scored more than 400 points. (The 1st time the Chargers accomplished that feat in consecutive seasons since 1980-81.) Also, it was the 10th-highest scoring total in NFL history since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. They were the only team in the league to rush for 2,500 yards and pass for 3,400 yards, and led the NFL in red zone TDs – 42 TDs in 62 trips (67.7%). The Chargers also set a team record by rushing for more than 100 yards in 14 of the 16 games and scored 20 or more points in all but 1 of those contests.
Under Cameron's direction, Rivers posted a 14-2 record in his 1st season as a starter (2007), which is tied for the 2nd-best record by a QB in his 1st 16 starts. Cameron's play-calling helped Tomlinson become the Associated Press Most Valuable Player in 2006, when he led the league in rushing with a team-record 1,815 yards and set single-season NFL records for most total TDs (31) and most rushing TDs (28). In all, 6 members of Cameron's offensive squad were named to the Pro Bowl.
In 2005, Cameron oversaw an offense that produced a 3,500-yard passer (Brees), a 1,000-yard rusher (Tomlinson), and a 1,000-yard receiver (Gates). It was the 2nd time in team history that it happened and the 1st time since 1981. The Chargers were 1 of only 6 NFL teams to feature such a threesome. The trio of Brees, Tomlinson and Gates was 1 of only 4 in the league to combine for 20 TD passes, 10 rushing TDs and 10 TD catches. It marked the 2nd consecutive year that the trio achieved that feat and the 5th time in team history.
With the Chargers scoring 446 points in 2004 (the 3rd highest total in the NFL behind Indianapolis and Kansas City), all 3 players were selected to the Pro Bowl after the season. But that wasn't the only honor Cameron and the offense received that season; in recognition of his accomplishments molding that group into one of the most potent units in the league, Cameron was named NFL Offensive Assistant Coach of the Year by SportsIllustrated.com. In addition, Brees finished with 27 TD passes and 3,159 passing yards. His 104.8 passer rating ranked 3rd in the NFL. In addition to his Pro Bowl selection, Brees' awards that season included Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year honors.
In 2003, with Cameron heading the offense, Tomlinson became the 1st player in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season. Tomlinson racked up 2,370 yards from scrimmage, 2nd-most in NFL history, and rushed for 1,645 yards, 3rd-most in team history.
In 2002, Cameron's 1st season as offensive coordinator, Tomlinson rushed for a then-team record 1,683 yards. In addition, Brees made his 1st-career start and finished the season with 3,284 passing yards and 17 TDs.
Cameron joined the Chargers after 5 seasons as the head coach at Indiana University (1997-2001). During his tenure in Bloomington, Cameron was responsible for the creative utilization of QB Antwaan Randle El, one of the most versatile athletes in college football history. Randle El finished his career as the NCAA Division I-A rushing leader among QBs and was the only player in major college football history to both rush for 40 TDs and pass for 40 TDs in a career. He finished his career ranked 5th on the NCAA Division I-A total yardage list with 11,366 yards, 1 spot ahead of Doug Flutie, and had 4 of the top 5 seasons in offensive production in Indiana history.
In 2001, Cam's Hoosiers team was ranked 3rd in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in total offense (435.3 yards per game) and was 4th in the country in rushing offense (269 yards per game). Their Big Ten victories included wins over Wisconsin in Madison (63-32), at Michigan State (37-28), Northwestern (56-21) and Purdue (13-7). Randle El finished 6th in the Heisman Trophy race, earned 1st-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association, and was named the Big Ten MVP. In addition, RB Levron Williams led the country in all-purpose yardage with more than 200 yards per game, and all 5 of the team's offensive linemen garnered All-Big Ten accolades, with 4 of them earning NFL contracts.
In 2000, Cameron's Indiana team ranked 13th nationally in total offense. In particular, the Hoosiers averaged 266.4 rushing yards per game, which led the Big Ten and was 7th in the nation. The team's average of 5.8 yards per carry ranked 2nd nationally behind Nebraska. They scored more than 30 points on 7 different occasions. A year earlier, in 1999, Indiana was 34th in total offense nationally and 19th in rushing offense. In addition to developing his student-athletes on the field, Cameron worked hard to ensure their success in the classroom as well. During his tenure at Indiana, the school was one of only 13 universities in the country that was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for graduation rates of 70 percent or better for 3 consecutive years (1999-2001).
In his 9th NFL season, Cam became the Miami Dolphins' head coach, following 5 seasons at San Diego. A 1-15 record was a harsh reality for Cam's lone season as head coach of the 2007 Dolphins, whose only win (22-16 OT) came against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 16. The team was at or near the bottom of almost all of the significant statistical categories, including 28th overall on offense and 23rd overall on defense, with a run defense ranking 32nd in the league. Miami did finish 4th against the pass behind Tampa, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, respectively. K Jay Feeley (21-of-23) ranked 2nd in the NFL in field goal percentage.
Contributing to the Dolphins' demise in 2007 were a spate of injuries on both sides of the ball, a very young group of players, and rotating quarterbacks. Starting QB Trent Green was lost for the season when he was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20 with a concussion. Cleo Lemon, who quarterbacked the game against the Ravens, earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 23-of-39 for 315-yard-performance and a 64-yard game-winning TD pass to WR Greg Camarillo, stepped in for Green.
Second-round pick QB John Beck started 4 games and appeared in 5 overall, completing 60 of 107 passes for 559 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs in his rookie campaign. He also had a rushing TD against Cincinnati in the season-ending loss (38-25) to go along with his 22-yard scoring pass to Derek Hagan. Beck became the 6th Dolphins rookie QB to start a game for Miami, joining Rick Norton (1966), John Stofa (1966), Bob Griese (1967), David Woodley (1980) and Dan Marino (1983).
For Cameron, the move into coaching was a natural fit. His stepfather, Tom Harp, was a head coach at Cornell (1961-65), Duke (1966-70) and Indiana State (1973-77). Cameron and Harp each have a unique distinction of coaching a Heisman Trophy winner. Cameron coached Howard at Michigan, while Harp was an assistant coach at Army when Pete Dawkins won the award in 1958.
Before embarking on his coaching career, Cameron played varsity football and basketball at Indiana. He earned 2 letters as a QB for Lee Corso (1982) and Sam Wyche (1983) and 2 (1981-82, 1982-83) playing basketball for Bob Knight before a football knee injury in his senior year ended his playing career. He graduated from Indiana in 1983 with a degree in business.
Cameron was a 2-sport prep standout for South Vigo (Terre Haute, IN) HS, where he lived while his stepfather coached at Indiana State. In football, he was an All-America selection at QB as a senior and earned all-state honors twice and all-county honors 3 times. He was named Vigo County's Athlete of the Year in 1978 and 1979. Cameron also led his team to 3 consecutive state basketball finals, and in 1979, he was named the winner of the state's prestigious Trester Award for mental attitude. Also in 1979, he was named national Athlete of the Year by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Cameron was born on Feb. 6, 1961 in Chapel Hill, NC. He and his wife, Missy, have 4 children, sons Tommy, Danny, and Christopher, and daughter Elizabeth.