NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - The Saints announced that Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt will take on the duties of Interim Head Coach for the Saints during Head Coach Sean Payton's absence, according to the Saints official web page.
Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis made the announcement on Thursday.
"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. We considered a number of great options to handle Payton's duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes. This is the same structure we used last season during Sean's knee injury."
Saints owner Tom Benson said Vitt, who is entering his seventh year with the Saints, has been part of building the success of the team along with Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis. Benson said they are looking forward to the start of the season and winning a championship in New Orleans.
Vitt has served as acting Head Coach during Payton's medical leave in 2011. Payton has been suspended for the 2012 season for the Saints bounty scandal.