View Full Version : Former Houston standout Dishman has coaching bug

08-24-2010, 04:49 PM
Cris Dishman was on the periphery of the NFL when he heard a few words that made him decide it was time to get back in the game.

Dishman, a top cornerback during the 1990s, was retired and helping college prospects prepare for the NFL combine when one player uttered a few words that made him decide it was time to return.

“One guy said his coach said the backpedal was overrated for a cornerback,” Dishman said. “The backpedal overrated? That’s when I knew I had to get into coaching. I knew people were getting put in the wrong direction.”

So, the same player who had to work his way up from fifth-round draft choice to all-pro did the same thing in the coaching ranks.

Dishman, selected by caller.com readers to the all-time Houston pro football team, is teaching his craft to a younger generation as a defensive assistant with the San Diego Chargers.

After his combine-preparation days, Dishman had a rapid succession of coaching jobs. He served two minority internships with the Oakland Raiders, one with the Miami Dolphins and another with the Chargers. In the middle of his internships, Dishman spent time as a defensive backs coach for Menlo College in the San Francisco Bay area, later becoming defensive coordinator.

He now has a foothold in the NFL again, with this being his second season with the Chargers. Dishman helps with the defensive backs and assists with special teams.

“For a moment there, I was stressed and doubting myself,” he said. “I was getting ready to fold the tent, but I thought someone would break through and trust me.”

Dishman had been down that road before. In 1988, he was drafted by Jerry Glanville’s House of Pain Oilers. He had veteran performers and second-round choice Quintin Jones of Pitt ahead of him.

There were a few advantages. Dishman played bump-and-run, man-up at Purdue, just like Glanville’s teams. He was coached by a thorough assistant in college — Nick Saban.

Dishman worked hard on special teams to cement a place with the Oilers. He also had former Purdue teammate Ray Wallace in Houston to show him the ways of the NFL.

“I knew if I had the chance to show what I could do, I could stick,” Dishman said. “I didn’t know how many defensive backs they wanted to keep. I just wanted to do what I could do. My job was to perform each and every day and get the best out of ability.”

He caught on with the Oilers. Dishman wasn’t an immediate starter, backing up Patrick Allen and Steve Brown. He earned a reputation as a trash-talker, being labeled in a 1989 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article as the most despised member of the Houston Oilers.

But, by his third season, he had a breakthrough and could back up the talk. Pat Thomas, a former standout with the Los Angeles Rams, took over as defensive backs coach. He worked with Dishman on one huge fundamental — the backpedal.

Off the field, Dishman made his mark. He was involved in numerous charitable enterprises and became one of the city’s favorite players despite a holdout after his Pro Bowl year. That’s why, he said, after the 1996 season, he didn’t want any part of Tennessee.

“I thought it somewhat as betraying the city in terms of playing for the Tennessee Oilers,” Dishman said. “I put so much into Houston, and the fans had stood behind me, that I just didn’t feel right playing for the team in another city.”

The feeling was mutual. So Dishman went to Washington. He went from the featured corner to playing alongside Hall of Famer Darrell Green. But he was back in the Pro Bowl after 1997.


boy they threw in some names that are a blast from the past

El Tejano
08-24-2010, 11:02 PM
Thanks Dish, loved you man. By the way we'd like you to coach our DBs one day.

08-25-2010, 03:32 PM
If only he was still playing for us.

08-25-2010, 03:35 PM
Met him in Pearland back when my Son played LL football. He was kind of an asshole.

08-25-2010, 11:12 PM
I'll never forget the day he had a pick-6 (or maybe it was fumble recovery) and held that ball out to taunt a Viking player (I think it was the Vikings, years are adding up) and got it batted away. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to see Chris Dishman hit the damn road. He might be a nice guy and all that but waiting for him to grow the hell up and become a legitimate starting corner took a few year off my life and put a few gray hairs on my head.