Special to the PRESS
It didn’t take long for Juan Castillo to land on his feet, and he definitely stuck the landing.
The Port Isabel native who was let go earlier this season as Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, was hired Monday by the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens.
Castillo, 53, will serve as a consultant before becoming the Ravens’ run-game coordinator next season. In that capacity, he will be working with now-permanent Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. Castillo joined the Ravens this week and will be on the staff when Baltimore faces the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
Familiarity with Castillo’s work was likely the reason Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was quick to bring on the respected assistant coach. Harbaugh and Castillo worked together on the Eagles staff (1997-2008) prior to Harbaugh becoming Ravens coach in 2008.
Castillo, a 1977 graduate of Port Isabel High School, was an All-State selection on defense for the Tarpons in 1976. That year, he tied a statewide record by recording five interceptions in one game. Later when he played for Texas A&I, he eventually won a NAIA national championship with the Javelinas in 1979.
After his college career was over, Castillo embarked on a long coaching career. His story was well noted as he coped with numerous struggles to eventually reach the NFL.
Castillo began his coaching career as he coached defensive backs and linebackers for the Javelinas from 1982-85. He then coached at H.M. King High School in Kingsville as defensive coordinator 1986-89 before returning to the Javelinas as offensive line coach from 1990-94.
After a successful stint in Kingsville, he was hired with the Eagles in 1995 by then-head coach Ray Rhodes as an offensive assistant. After a season as tight ends coach (1997) he began his long and highly respected career as the Eagles offensive line coach from 1998-2010. At that time he was elevated to defensive coordinator by head coach Andy Reid. After a shaky season in 2011 and equally sluggish start this year, Castillo was fired by Reid in October as the Eagles struggled. Philly ultimately finished 4-12 on the year and Reid was fired.
He was honored in his hometown with “Juan Castillo Day” in 2009.
Read this story in the Jan. 24 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.