New Orleans Saints

Vitt to assume Saints head coaching duties for Payton

The New Orleans Saints said today that assistant head coach Joe Vitt will take over the day-to-day duties of Head Coach Sean Payton during his year-long suspension.

The announcement was made by General Manager Mickey Loomis. “It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season. Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed,” said Loomis.

“But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach, and that is why I am announcing today that Joe Vitt will assume Sean’s duties."

Loomis said the Saints considered a number of options, internally and externally, but said Vitt was the best solution to provide "the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff."

Vitt taking on Payton's duties is the same structure used when Payton was sidelined with a broken leg.

“This is about our program, and the continued success of our program,” said Saints Owner Tom Benson. “Joe has been part of building our success along with our Head Coach Sean Payton and our General Manager Mickey Loomis. We are looking forward to the start of the offseason program, the NFL Draft, our minicamps and training camp. We are looking forward to the start of our season, as I know that all of our fans are and we are looking forward to competing and winning a championship right here in our own city, in our own stadium this year.” Loomis said Vitt will be in charge when Payton's suspension begins on Monday and will work through the offseason and training camp. The team will make a decision on who will take over during Vitt's 6-game suspension during training camp.

"We are fortunate to have a great veteran coaching staff well equipped to handle this challenge," Loomis said. "Joe and Sean have worked closely together to build our program, one of the most successful in the NFL in the past six years, and I have the fullest confidence that Joe will continue that success that Sean has brought us.”

Read more about this story in Friday's Sun Herald.