After just two seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Head Coach Lovie Smith Wednesday night. Smith took the Bucs job after a successful tenure in Chicago where he took the Bears to the Super Bowl but missed the playoffs five of the last six seasons he coached there. Smith was 84-66 in Chicago and 8-24 over two seasons in Tampa Bay.
Changing coaches is nothing new for the Bucs. Smith’s two year tenure is matched by his predecessor, Greg Schiano and one year shorter than Rahim Morris who replaced Jon Gruden after the 2008 season. In other words, the Bucs will have had three head coaches in the past five years. Their next coach will be their 4th in six years.
“After careful consideration, we informed Lovie that we have decided to make a change. I want to thank Lovie for his hard work and dedication to the Buccaneers during his time here,” Bucs Co-Chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement Wednesday night. “This decision was difficult on a variety of levels. I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve. “As we move forward, general manager Jason Licht will oversee the process for finding our next head coach.”
Smith signed a 4-year contract in Tampa Bay to be the head coach where he had been a linebackers coach under Tony Dungy from 1996-2000.
With Jameis Winston, the number one overall pick at quarterback, the Bucs were better this year but lost their final four games. Running Back Doug Martin finished second in to Adrian Peterson for the NFL rushing title.
Now available, Smith will be a much sought after coach, perhaps for the other six availabilities in the league or as a defensive coordinator. He served in that capacity for the St. Louis Rams before taking the job in Chicago.
Would he be interested in working for Gus Bradley in Jacksonville? Would Bradley be interested in Smith? Would Smith be willing to run Gus’ “Seattle” defense? Bradley has said the search for a new defensive coordinator would be open to both professional and college coaches with no timetable set for the hiring.