Tulane assistant takes talents across town
The New Orleans Saints found their new quarterbacks coach across town.
Tulane quarterbacks coach Mike Neu has been given the same position with the Saints, yet again deepening the bonds between the Green Wave and New Orleans’ NFL franchise. Neu spent two years on the staff of Green Wave coach Curtis Johnson, and he is replacing Joe Lombardi, who took the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator job in January.
The Saints announced Neu’s hiring Wednesday morning. Neu told The Advocate via a text message, “I can’t thank (Curtis Johnson) and (the) Tulane family enough for a great experience the last two years! I am very appreciative of the opportunity I was given by CJ. He is truly a class act, and I look forward to being a huge supporter of Tulane going forward.”
Locally, Neu is perhaps best known for being the head coach of the Voodoo, New Orleans’ Arena Football League franchise, from 2004 to 2008. The Voodoo belonged to Saints owner Tom Benson at the time.
When the Voodoo suspended operations for the 2006 season after Hurricane Katrina, Neu worked for the Saints as a college scout. He was also a scout for the team from 2009 to 2011, responsible for evaluating players in the northeast. Then Johnson — who, under Sean Payton, was the Saints’ wide receivers coach until leaving to become Tulane’s head coach in 2012 — hired Neu to tutor the Green Wave’s quarterbacks. Neu’s experience as a head coach was quite attractive to Tulane, Johnson has said.
“I never was a head coach before, but Mike Neu was,” Johnson told the media in 2012. “He helps me so much with the head coaching daily activities and things like that.”
In his first year at Tulane, Neu coached Ryan Griffin, who signed with the Saints in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. Neu in his second year at Tulane was part of a staff that coached the Green Wave to its first bowl game appearance since 2002.
Griffin and his successors ran the Saints’ offense, which Johnson brought with him to Tulane. Neu — the first assistant to leave Johnson’s program at Tulane — will reunite with Griffin, a developmental project for the Saints who sat behind eight-time Pro Bowler Drew Brees as well as backup Luke McCown on the depth chart.
Griffin sent congratulations to Neu via Twitter, writing, “I can’t wait to get back to NOLA and get to work.”
Neu will work with Payton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and an offense that’s been ranked No. 1 four times since 2006.
A husband and father of three, Neu played quarterback at Ball State, where he was recognized as his conference’s MVP as a senior. Professionally, the native of Indianapolis played for the Calgary Stampeders in Canada and for the AFL’s Orlando Predators. He had various assistant coaching stops in arena football before landing with the Voodoo.