Aaron Kromer will serve as the Saints’ head coach for the first six games of the regular season while Joe Vitt is suspended, the team announced Wednesday.
Kromer is entering his fifth season with the Saints and is the team’s O-line coach/running-game coordinator. Kromer has 22 years of coaching experience, including four seasons with the Raiders and three with the Buccaneers.
Vitt has been serving as the Saints’ interim head coach in place of Sean Payton, who is suspended for the year for his role in the team’s bounty program. Vitt received a six-game suspension, which begins the week of the first regular-season game.
“This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role,” said GM Mickey Loomis. “Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of change with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years.”
Kromer was a likely candidate, along with offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“The job our staff has done during Sean’s absence has been remarkable,” said Vitt. “We have great talent and depth on our coaching staff, but most importantly we have guys on this coaching staff that clearly understand the foundation of success that Sean has built and I feel great that Aaron and the rest of the staff will continue to build on that foundation."
“Aaron knows Sean’s system very well and how he would be expected to operate this team,” said QB Drew Brees. “We have a very strong coaching staff and Aaron is a coach that is very well respected in our locker room.”
Last week, ORT Zach Strief spoke about the possibility of Kromer taking the interim spot.
“I know playing for (Kromer), it’s obviously going to be a guy that's going to be a head coach one day,” Strief said, per NOLA.com. “I think he has that personality and he has that type of knowledge. I think he has the respect of guys. … I think he’d do a good job.”