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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Veteran Bucs assistant Rich Bisaccia heads to Chargers



In what could be the first of several coaching-staff departures, longtime Bucs special teams coach and associate head coach Rich Bisaccia is leaving Tampa Bay to take the same position with the Chargers.

Bisaccia has been with the Bucs since 2002, joining the team on former coach Jon Gruden's original staff. He was one of only a handful of holdovers from the Gruden era, surviving Gruden's firing in 2009.

Bisaccia had been thought to be pursuing opportunities elsewhere -- both in college and at the NFL level -- though it's not immediately clear what prompted him to take on this challenge in San Diego. One possibility: Opportunity for advancement. Bisaccia has had basically the same role for nine seasons, with the exception of 2008, when the role of running backs coach was added to his duties. When Raheem Morris was hired in 2009, Bisaccia was again relegated to the singular role of special teams coach.

Another possible factor, is money. The Bucs have lost assistant coaches before because they were outbid for their services. Former linebackers coach Joe Barry, for example, jumped at a chance to join the Southern Cal staff last year because the offer was too lucrative to pass.

In announcing the news, Chargers coach Norv Turner -- whose special teams this season were abysmal -- touted Bisaccia's success with the Bucs.

"Rich's special teams have had success in this league," he said. "He's been with Tampa Bay for nine years and their teams have been consistently good to excellent. He helped them win a Super Bowl. Rich is a high-energy guy that I know will bring out the best in our players."

The Bucs allowed 7.3 yards per punt return this season, ranking seventh in the NFL. Tampa Bay was eighth in kick-return coverage, allowing 20.7 yards per attempt. The Bucs were also eighth in kick returns, averaging 24.3 yards.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me to be part of a winning organization and work with Norv Turner," Bisaccia said. "There's a real opportunity here to win it all," Bisaccia said. "I've worked with Jon Gruden and now I have the opportunity to work with Norv. These are two of the best coaching minds in football. I'm really looking forward to it."

Bissacia's contract with Tampa Bay was up after the season, meaning he couldn't be barred from interviewing with or pursuing a job with another team.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 6:26pm]


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