Former Vikings coach Frazier is Bucs defensive coordinator
Bucs coach Lovie Smith is assembling a star-studded staff, hiring former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator.
Frazier confirmed he is headed to Tampa Bay via text to reporters Friday night, saying he was finalizing a contract.
"I'm excited for Leslie and excited for the Buc fans,'' former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy said of Frazier, who worked on his staff in Indianapolis. "He's a tremendous coach and very much like Lovie in lot of ways and I think it'll compliment what Lovie is trying to do.
"I go back to when I came and had Monte Kiffin and Herm Edwards and Lovie Smith and Mike Shula. A big part of it is putting together a good staff. Leslie is a good teacher, a good communicator and encourager. Again, he knows how to win. Playing in the Super Bowl, he knows what a good defense looks like. Then he went on to Philadelphia with Andy Reid and won the Super Bowl with us. You know what it takes, the discipline and details. As a player, you get it from head coach and defensive coodinator and it filters down.''
Dallas defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, a close friend of Smith's, also was a candidate for the Bucs' defensive coordinator position. But he has two years left on his contract and the Cowboys had no intention of letting Marinelli go to the Bucs, who had not formally requested an interview as of Friday afternoon. Earlier Friday, former California-Berkeley head coach Jeff Tedford agreed to become the Bucs' offensive coordinator.
The Bucs appear to be zeroing in on Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard to be their next general manager. Ballard worked in the Bears' front office when Smith was head coach before joining the Chiefs this season.
Frazier was fired Monday after four seasons with the Vikings following a 5-10-1 record in 2013. He took over as the interim coach for Brad Childress in 2010 and went 3-3 that season. Two years ago, he led the Vikings to a 10-6 record and reached the playoffs.
But the Vikings struggled to settle their quarterback situation. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel were not the answer, so the Vikings signed Bucs castoff Josh Freeman to a $2.8-million contract. Freeman started one game, a Monday Night Football meltdown in a Week 7, a 23-7 loss to the previously winless New York Giants. He did not play the next nine weeks.
ESPN's Josina Anderson was the first to report Frazier was coming to Tampa Bay.
Frazier, a former NFL defensive back for the '85 Super Bowl champion Bears, worked as the special assistant to the head coach and defensive backs coach under Dungy with the Indianapolis Colts. In 2007, he left to become defensive coordinator of the Vikings.