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Originally published Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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A history with Holmgren

Mike Holmgren's coaching career had yet to take off when he met Jim Lind. In fact, Holmgren had just landed in Utah in 1982, a high-school...

Seattle Times staff reporter

KIRKLAND — Mike Holmgren's coaching career had yet to take off when he met Jim Lind.

In fact, Holmgren had just landed in Utah in 1982, a high-school coach from California coming to Brigham Young to coach the quarterbacks. Lind was the school's graduate assistant assigned to pick Holmgren up at the airport.

"Grad assistants are gophers," Lind said. "You go-for this, you go-for that."

Lind ended up getting a good friend and a future boss from that trip to the airport.

The connection Lind and Holmgren made in one year in Utah has ended up lasting the length of Holmgren's NFL coaching career. He hired Lind to his staff in Green Bay in 1992 and then brought Lind to Seattle as one of eight assistants he transplanted from the Packers to the Seahawks.

"He has the ability to push you and get the most out of you, but at the same time he treats you well," Lind said of Holmgren. "He's great with people."

Now in Holmgren's 10th season, Lind is the only one of those assistants still with the Seahawks. That speaks to both the bond between Holmgren and Lind and the migratory nature that is inevitable in a football coach's profession.

"It's just the natural evolution of things," Holmgren said.

Stump Mitchell had coached for Holmgren since Green Bay, but he went to Washington with Jim Zorn, becoming the offensive coordinator. Nolan Cromwell was with Holmgren in Green Bay, too, but he left last year to become offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, going to work for Mike Sherman, another of Holmgren's former assistants.

Those were moves that precipitated a severe shake up on the offensive side of Seattle's coaching staff. Bill Lazor was hired to coach the quarterbacks after Zorn. Mike Solari and Mike DeBord came aboard to coach the offensive line. Kasey Dunn is coaching running backs instead of Mitchell, and Keith Gilbertson replaced Cromwell as the wide receivers coach.

Only two of Seattle's offensive assistant coaches remain in the same role as a year ago: Lind and offensive coordinator Gil Haskell. Lind came to Seattle as a defensive assistant and served as the coordinator in 1999 after Fritz Shurmur's illness. After that season, Lind moved over to offense where he coached tight ends, and he has been there ever since.

"He's very, very bright," Holmgren said of Lind. "That really comes out in the meeting rooms with ideas."

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Lind earned his doctorate at BYU and then went on to serve as a college head coach at University of Minnesota-Morris and then Wisconsin-Eau Claire before joining Holmgren in Green Bay in 1992.

This season, Lind will coach a position that is as a big a question mark as any on the roster. The Seahawks have four tight ends in training camp, only two of whom have ever caught an NFL pass. Jeb Putzier was signed as a free agent and Will Heller is back for his third season in Seattle. John Carlson is a rookie from Notre Dame who reported to training camp Saturday, and Joe Newton is a second-year player who spent last season on the practice squad.

The position is as uncertain as it is important for the Seahawks this season, and a spot Holmgren hopes will take off under the man who picked him up at a Utah airport more than 20 years ago.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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