Bucs introduce Smith, eager to make team relevant again
TAMPA -- The Bucs proudly introduced Lovie Smith as their new head coach Monday, and the former Tampa Bay assistant and Bears coach said will work to make the Bucs a relevant team again in the NFL, like the teams he coached with Tony Dungy.
"You knew we'd be relentless, we'd play hard, physical. There was a brand of football you got from us each week. Raymond James, it was hard for opponents to come in and win," the 55-year-old said from One Buc Place. "We have gotten away from that a little bit, and it is time as we go to the future for us to become a relevant team again."
Smith, a Bucs assistant from 1996-2000, was introduced by Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer, who spoke of the criteria that ownership set out to look for in its next leader, and how quickly they found that in a familiar face.
"When we began our coaching search ... we focused on finding a strong leader with a proven and established track record. We searched for a man who would not only command respect among his players, but stand tall as a symbol for our team in this community," Glazer said. "It was easy. Not because we knew Lovie from his previous time here, but because he fit our criteria perfectly. It was obvious he was the right man at the right time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."
Smith takes over after two disappointing seasons under Greg Schiano, who was fired one week ago after a 4-12 season that left him 11-21 as head coach. He has already named former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator and former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator, though a general manager to replace Mark Dominik has not been chosen yet.
"I think it's a phenomenal hire," said former Bucs running back Mike Alstott, who attended the announcement. "As a young coach and a young player, we grew up in a great atmosphere and learned from the best. ... It's nothing but win-win-win. It's exactly the mentoring (of) young players like we were in '96 and '97 when Coach Dungy was leading the Buccaneers. It's exactly what this organization needs and exactly what these young and talented players need."