The NFL announced the head coaches for the 2019 East-West Shrine Game. Sam Mills III of the Carolina Panthers will coach the East team and Adam Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings will coach the West.
Mills has been on the Panthers' staff since 2005. He has spent the past eight (2011-18) as assistant defensive line coach and was promoted to defensive line coach in December.
During his tenure, the Carolina defensive line established itself as a dominant unit, leading the NFL in sacks and ranking second in rushing yards allowed since 2012. A Division II All-American linebacker at Montclair State, Mills III is the son of legendary Panthers linebacker Sam Mills, the only player in franchise history to have his number retired and to be inducted into the team's Hall of Honor.
Zimmer is a 13-year coaching veteran who has spent the past five seasons as the Vikings' linebacker coach. Prior to joining Minnesota's staff, Zimmer spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, serving as assistant linebacker coach during the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV-winning season. A former safety at Trinity University, Adam is the son of Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.
"We have a terrific partnership with the NFL that has once again yielded two outstanding head coaches," said Harold Richardson, executive director of the East-West Shrine Game. "Sam Mills III and Adam Zimmer are excellent teachers who will enjoy this opportunity and no doubt be tremendous examples for our players as they prepare to launch their NFL careers."
At the end of the NFL regular season, teams nominated deserving assistant coaches for the head coaching spots. Nominees were reviewed by a panel including NFL Football Operations staff, East-West Shrine Game leadership and two members of the NFL's General Managers Advisory Committee. Each head coach selection will fill out his 12-person staff from the pool of remaining nominees.
The 94th annual East-West Shrine Game will take place on Saturday, January 19, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was the nation's first college all-star football game and supports Shriners Hospitals for Children.