Wow, no one saw this coming.
It was long believed that if anything were ever to happen to Belichick, Scarnecchia would take his place as interim coach.
He has done an amazing job on the Patriots offensive line over the years, often working with mixed parts and cast-offs and turning backups into serviceable players at the very least. It can't be understated how significant of a move this is. He was the o-line coach for 15 years.
Patriots announce that veteran OL coach Dante Scarnecchia is retiring.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 22, 2014
Scar was tough on his players, but well respected and many considered him one of the best o-line coaches in the league.
Belichick's statement on Scar..
"Dante Scarnecchia is a Patriot and NFL legend who defied the phrase ‘not for long,'" said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "In an industry of constant change, Dante remained a fixture here for the simple reason that he helped every player reach his highest potential, regardless of who he was, how he was acquired or how much raw talent he had. In whatever category a coach can be assessed - evaluator, teacher, motivator, problem solver, disciplinarian, team player, winner – Dante is as good as it gets. As many games as he helped us win and as much as we would like to work with Dante forever, we are blessed with the opportunity to have been with him as long as we were."
The Patriots announced that Dave DeGuglielmo has been added to replace Scarnecchia as coach of the offensive line. More info on him at the link above.
The quick hire suggests this has been a move being planned for quite awhile, with DeGuglielmo likely being interviewed well in advance. DeGuglielmo did not coach anywhere in 2013, also lending merit to the theory that this was in the works for at least a year.