(Reuters) - Defensive specialist Jack Del Rio was appointed as head coach of the struggling Oakland Raiders on Thursday, the ninth person to hold the position since the start of the 2003 season.
Del Rio replaces Tony Sparano, who took over on an interim basis in September after Dennis Allen was sacked following an 0-4 start to the 2014 National Football League season.
"Jack Del Rio brings a strong leadership presence to this organization," General Manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. "He has developed an excellent reputation as a coach in this league and we are happy that he is a Raider."
A veteran of 18 seasons as a coach in the National Football League, Del Rio was head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011. He compiled a 68-71 record with the Jaguars and led them into the playoffs in 2005 and 2007.
However, he takes charge of a Raiders team that went 3-13 in 2014 and has failed to produce a single winning season or playoff berth for the past 12 seasons.
"I have no doubt that he will make a significant impact and help reach the goal of everyone in this building, which is to win championships," said Raiders owner Mark Davis.
Del Rio was defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 2012-2014 and helped them win three straight AFC West titles.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)