On November 28, 2005, Ted Tollner was named the tight ends coach for the Lions' remaining five games. Tollner joined the Lions' coaching staff after having spent more than 30 years coaching on the college and NFL levels.

Tollner’s experience was finely tuned working in three of the most innovative offenses in the history of the game. Given the coaching and player lineage and schematic evolution derived from these offenses, perhaps no other systems have had a greater impact on today’s offensive schemes than those that Tollner is associated. He began his coaching career at San Diego State where he ran the innovative “Air Coryell” offense. As an assistant coach for Buffalo under Hall of Fame Head Coach Marv Levy from 1987-88, he tutored the Bills’ receivers at the launch of the “K-Gun” passing attack. In 2002, Tollner began coaching in the “West Coast” offense as quarterbacks coach and he then served as offensive coordinator for the 49ers this past season.

With the San Francisco 49ers in ’02, Tollner helped QB Jeff Garcia reach his third consecutive Pro Bowl by throwing for 3,344 yards, 21 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. The 49ers won the NFC West and advanced to the divisional-round of the playoffs that season.

From 1994-01, Tollner was the head coach at San Diego State, where he compiled a record of 43-48. He posted two eight-win seasons in his second and third years with the Aztecs (1995 and ’96), which marked the first consecutive eight-win seasons since Don Coryell accomplished the feat in 1976-77. Tollner also directed San Diego State to its first postseason bowl game in seven years with a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl (1998). Current NFL players that played under Tollner include former Lions' WR Az-Zahir Hakim, Cowboys DT La’Roi Glover, Rams T Kyle Turley and Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

Prior to his head coaching stint at SDSU, Tollner was the Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach under Head Coach Chuck Knox from 1992-93. He moved to Los Angeles after a three-year period (1989-91) as the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator. From 1987-88, he was the wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills.

Tollner served as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at USC during the 1982 season, and in November of 1982, was named John Robinson’s successor as Trojans head coach. He compiled a 26-20-1 record and directed the team to a Pacific 10 Conference title and three bowl berths. His 1984 USC squad posted a 9-3 record, finished 10th in the AP poll and defeated fifth-ranked Ohio State 20-17 in one of the greatest upsets in Rose Bowl history. The Trojans finished 7-1 in the conference that year and earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl as conference champs since 1979. Tollner was named Pac-10 Coach-of-the-Year that season. His two other bowl appearances with the Trojans include the 1985 Aloha Bowl and the 1987 Citrus Bowl. 

During his tenure at Brigham Young University (1981), Tollner served as the quarterbacks coach under LaVell Edwards. Among the crop of BYU quarterbacks that developed under Tollner included Jim McMahon (led nation in passing in 1981) and Steve Young.

Tollner’s coaching career on the college level began at San Diego State when he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1973-80. Tollner first started his coaching career in the San Francisco area at Woodside High School (1963-66) and San Mateo College (1968-72).

Born May 29, 1940, Tollner earned a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and later a master’s degree in physical education at Cal Poly. He was a starting quarterback for the Mustangs for two years and pitched for the baseball team for four seasons. He was one of 26 survivors of the tragic Cal Poly plane crash on October 29, 1960, which killed 22 people, 16 of them players. In 1989, Tollner was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame.

Tollner and his wife, Barbara, have two daughters, Linda and Tammy, and one son, Bruce, and 10 grandchildren.

TOLLNER’S PROFILE

Tollner’s has been a part of some of the most innovative offensive systems in football history. Tollner’s first involvement of a highly-powered offense occurred at San Diego State where he ran the “Air Coryell” offense. He was an assistant coach for Buffalo under Hall of Fame Head Coach Marv Levy for two seasons (1987-88) and he tutored the Bills’ receivers during the launch of the “K-Gun” passing attack. In 2002, Tollner made the transition into the “West Coast” offense as quarterbacks coach and he then served as offensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2004.

From 1983-86, Tollner was the head coach for the University of Southern California. His 1984 USC squad posted a 9-3 record, finished 10th in the AP poll and defeated fifth-ranked Ohio State 20-17 in one of the greatest upsets in Rose Bowl history. The Trojans finished 7-1 in the conference that year and earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl as conference champs since 1979. Tollner was named Pac-10 Coach-of-the-Year that season. Among the coaches on Tollner’s staff included Lions Head Coach Steve Mariucci, Lions Offensive Line Coach Pat Morris, Oakland Raiders Head Coach Norv Turner, University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt and Bears Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner.