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Why did the Colts hire Jeff Saturday? What to know about interim head coach, from Hebron Christian Academy to ESPN

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With a hulking frame, unmatched aggression and an effervescent smile, Jeff Saturday stole Colts fans’ hearts during his playing career. For his second act in Indianapolis, he’s hoping to give them something back: a winning football team.

That’s easier said than done, admittedly. Saturday, the Indy legend-turned-ESPN analyst, was hired as the Colts’ new interim coach, replacing the fired Frank Reich. The 47-year-old has little sideline experience — he spent three years leading Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Georgia.

But he has a bevy of experience in Naptown. And his familiarity with the organization — and the way owner Jim Irsay operates — may prove vital as the Colts try to make a turnaround before it’s too late.

MORE: Why Frank Reich got fired in a rare Colts midseason coaching change

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday, a local hero hoping to revitalize a weary franchise and fanbase.

Who is Jeff Saturday?

During his playing days, Jeff Saturday was a two-time All-Pro center with Indianapolis. He spent the best years of his career keeping Peyton Manning off his backside, even capturing a Super Bowl ring in 2007. Saturday also played a year in Green Bay, a year in which Aaron Rodgers finished third in Offensive Player of the Year voting.

With a bubbly personality and a passion to discuss the game, Saturday smoothly transitioned into sports media, becoming an analyst with ESPN. He had been with the network since 2013, featuring heavily on “NFL Live” and “SportsCenter.”

IYER: Ranking Colts’ best Frank Reich replacement candidates

What is Hebron Christian Academy?

In his spare time away from the studio, Saturday coached at Hebron Christian Academy — the same school his son, Jeffrey, attended.

Located 45 minutes from Atlanta, Hebron Christian Academy is a small Christian college prepatory that competes in the Class AAA division of Georgia high school football.

Saturday didn’t find too much success in the Peach State, going 20-16 during his three seasons at the helm of the Lions and reaching the playoffs once. He did, however, oversee his son’s progression into an All-Regional player and Division I-caliber prospect. Jeffrey now plays at North Carolina.

Why did the Colts hire Jeff Saturday?

Saturday’s hire took the NFL world by surprise, especially given his relative inexperience. 

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, though, the move may be at least somewhat linked to Irsay’s desire to surveil different aspects of Indianapolis’ organization. Saturday and Irsay have a tight relationship, per Rapoport, something that could be especially useful as the organization looks to shake things up amid what looks like it could be a lengthy rebuild.


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