A veteran coach with more than a decade of experience on both the collegiate and professional coaching levels, Donnie Henderson will enter his second season as the Bills defensive backs coach in 2014. Henderson, who has worked NFL sidelines for 11 years and in the college ranks for 18, worked with Bills head coach Doug Marrone with the New York Jets from 2004-05 and in Syracuse in 2012.
During his first season with the Bills, Henderson led a defensive backfield that finished second in the NFL with 23 interceptions.
Henderson was also responsible for helping DB Aaron Williams transition from playing cornerback to safety, which led to a career high four interceptions and 82 tackles out of Williams.CB Leodis McKelvin enjoyed his most productive season under Henderson’s guidance, recording a career high 73 tackles and 19 passes defensed.
Prior to Henderson’s one year with Syracuse in 2012, he returned to college football as the secondary coach at Southern University in 2011 after having worked for six NFL teams.At Southern, Henderson guided the Jaguars defensive backfield that ranked 29th nationally in pass defense.
His professional football coaching career includes stints at Arizona, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York and Baltimore, in addition to one season with the California Redwoods of the UFL in 2009.
In 2010, Henderson mentored the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs.He was the defensive backs coach with Jacksonville in 2008 after working as a consultant to Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in 2007. He previously worked as the defensive coordinator for Detroit in 2006 as he helped the Lions defense rank 10th in the NFL with 30 takeaways.
In 2004, Henderson was the coordinator for the Jets defense that improved to seventh, from 21st, in the NFL in total defense and rookie linebacker Jonathan Vilma was named the 2004 AP Defensive Rookie of the Season. In 2005, the Jets finished second in the NFL in total passing yards allowed (172.2 avg.) and finished fifth with 21 interceptions.
Henderson began his NFL coaching career with Baltimore in 1999 as the assistant defensive backs coach and was promoted to coach defensive backs in 2000.During Henderson’s tenure with the Ravens from 1999-2003, Baltimore ranked second in the NFL with 88 interceptions and he tutored a secondary that included Pro Bowlers in safeties Rod Woodson, who is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Ed Reed, and cornerback Chris McAlister.
In 2000, Baltimore set defensive records for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season (165), fewest rushing yards allowed (970) while also setting franchise records with 23 interceptions and leading the NFL with 49 takeaways.The Ravens secondary was responsible for 12 interceptions, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.
Prior to joining the Ravens in 1999, Henderson was an assistant for 16 years at the collegiate level.He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Utah State (1983-85), where he also coached linebackers for three seasons (1986-1988) before coaching defensive backs and serving as recruiting coordinator at the University of Idaho in 1989. He then spent two seasons at California (1990- 91) as linebackers coach before joining the Arizona State staff where he coached safeties (1992-94) and defensive backs (1995-97). He spent the 1998 season as the defensive backs and assistant head coach at the University of Houston prior to joining the NFL.
A native of Baltimore, Md., Henderson attended Locke High School (Los Angeles, Calif.). He played two seasons at Santa Monica Junior College before transferring to Utah State where he earned first-team Big West Conference honors as a senior cornerback in 1979.He was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 10th round (251st overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft.