Working with head coach Charlie Weis, Vaas oversaw the impressive development of Irish quarterback Brady Quinn into the most prolific passer in Notre Dame's storied history. Vaas helped Quinn produce a record-breaking season in 2005 as the quarterback broke 31 Irish career and single-season standards. Perhaps the most impressive statistic of Quinn's 2005 season was his 32-to-7 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio, contributing to an outstanding 158.40 passing efficiency rating. Quinn was second in the nation in touchdown passes with 32 while ranking among the NCAA leaders in passing efficiency (seventh), total offense (fifth), completions per game (sixth) and points responsible for (fifth).
Vaas joined the Irish staff after two seasons as head coach of the Cologne Centurions, where he led the team to a record of 10-10 in Cologne's first two years in the league. In his first year as head coach, Vaas guided the Centurions through a successful 2004 season, posting a 4-6 mark in the team's first year in NFL Europe. Before joining the Centurions, Vaas served as head coach of the Berlin Thunder for four seasons (2000-2003), winning World Bowls in 2001 and 2002 while compiling an overall record of 21-21. In his final season in Berlin, Vaas and the Thunder chased an unprecedented third World Bowl crown but ended the year with a 3-7 record. In 2002, Vaas ensured the Thunder made history by helping them become the first team to win back-to-back World Bowls in NFL Europe with a 26-21 victory over the Rhein Fire in World Bowl X, earning coach-of-the-year honors in the process. Berlin boasted the best offense in NFL Europe under Vaas in 2002, gaining 3,704 total yards.
In 2001, Vaas led the Thunder to their first World Bowl title with a 24-17 victory over the Barcelona Dragons at Amsterdam Arena. He first joined NFL Europe in 1998 as an offensive assistant (quarterback and wide receivers) for the Barcelona Dragons. In 1999, he helped the Dragons to a league-best 7-3 record and a berth in the World Bowl - while coaching the league's offensive MVP, former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips. Vaas was named Berlin's head coach in 2000.
Vaas started his coaching career in 1974 as an assistant coach at Allegheny College (in Meadville, Pa.), spending five years coaching running backs and quarterbacks under head coach Sam Timer (he also served as assistant basketball coach and was named head baseball coach). From 1979-85 he worked as running backs coach and then offensive coordinator (from 1983-85) at the University of New Hampshire - helping head coach Bill Bowes to a 44-26-2 mark in seven seasons.
In 1986, Vaas returned to Allegheny as head coach, turning around a team that had not posted a winning record in seven years and guided the Gators to two North Coast Athletic Conference championships, including league coach-of-the-year honors both those seasons. In his second season he led them to a 9-1-1 record, followed by an 8-2 mark in 1988. His Allegheny teams went 21-4 in league games, including 17 straight wins over one stretch - and his 1987 team made the NCAA Division III playoffs and finished fifth in the final rankings.
After compiling a 29-11-1 record in four seasons (1986-89) at Allegheny (the Gators went on to win the NCAA Division III national crown in 1990), Vaas became the running backs coach (1990) and then quarterbacks coach (1991) at Notre Dame. He coached standout Irish players such as quarterback Rick Mirer (he ranked eighth nationally in passing efficiency in 1991 and set an Irish single-season touchdown pass mark that year with 18), fullback Jerome Bettis (1,912 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns in his Irish career) and tailback Ricky Watters (career marks of 1,814 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns), all of whom went on to become top-flight NFL players.
In 1990 Vaas helped the Irish finish 9-3, including a berth in the Orange Bowl against top-rated Colorado. A year later, Notre Dame ended up 10-3 following a 39-28 Sugar Bowl win over second-rated Florida. From 1992-95 Vaas was head coach at Holy Cross before spending a season as offensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1996.
In his playing days, the native of Westwood, Mass., was a walk-on quarterback at Holy Cross. He was a three-year starter and set nine individual school passing records in his senior season. As a senior he completed 135 passes for 1,631 yards and 13 touchdowns (and five touchdowns in one game). His career numbers included 2,642 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes.
He graduated from Holy Cross in 1974 with a degree in history. In 1992 he was inducted into his high school's hall of fame as a player - and in 1999 Allegheny College inducted him into its hall of fame as a coach. At Allegheny, he spent three years on the institutional Academic Standards Committee, serving as chairman in 1989.
Born April 26, 1952, in Westwood, Mass., Vaas and his wife Rosann have two daughters, Katelyn (a Junior at Notre Dame) and Kelly (a freshman at Saint Mary's).
The Peter Vaas File
|1974-78||Allegheny College||Quarterbacks/Running Backs|
|1979-85||New Hampshire||Quarterback/Running Backs|
|1986-89||Allegheny College||Head Coach|
|1990||Notre Dame||Running Backs|
|1992-95||Holy Cross||Head Coach|
|1999||Montreal Alouettes||Offensive Coordinator|
|1998-99||Barcelona Dragons||Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers|
|2000-03||Berlin Thunder||Head Coach|
|2004-05||Cologne Centurions||Head Coach|
|2005||Notre Dame (9-3, Fiesta Bowl, #9)||Quarterbacks|