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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

It's official: Dirk Koetter is new Bucs head coach

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been promoted to head coach, agreeing to a five-year contract to succeed Lovie Smith.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been promoted to head coach, agreeing to a five-year contract to succeed Lovie Smith.

15

January

The Bucs have made it official: Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been promoted to head coach, agreeing to a five-year contract to succeed Lovie Smith.

The team will introduce the 11th head coach in its 40-year history at a 2 p.m. news conference at One Buc Place.

"When I started this search for a new head coach, the focus was on finding someone that could be a strong leader as well as a consummate teacher, and Dirk is both," general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "He brings the passion and drive that will re-energize our organization and help us establish the winning culture that will help us become the championship-caliber team that our fans deserve."

Koetter, 56, joined the Bucs last year and helped the team set a franchise record for total offense, with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston passing for more than 4,000 yards and running back Doug Martin finishing second in the NFL with 1,402 yards on the way to Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. He has been an NFL offensive coordinator for the past nine years, with nine years as a college head coach at Boise State and Arizona State before moving to the NFL ranks.

"We are excited to announce that Dirk Koetter will lead the Buccaneers as our new head coach," Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. "Dirk has established himself as one of the top offensive coaches in our game while enjoying success at every stop during his college and NFL career. His success with our offense last season, along with his familiarity with our players and our organization, makes Dirk the right man to lead our team moving forward."

Koetter was one of three candidates interviewed by Licht, along with Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. The Bucs could have waited to interview other assistants from current playoff teams, but would have to wait until their postseason ended to officially make the hire, potentially a delay of more than three weeks until after the Super Bowl.

Koetter's first major task will be finding the right hire at defensive coordinator, helping reshape a unit that struggled in 2015, especially in pass defense, allowing opponents to complete 70 percent of their passes. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will not be back, along with at least three other defensive assistants. Koetter will now assemble a staff of his own -- should he seek a defensive coordinator with NFL head coaching experience, he has worked with two in former Falcons coach Mike Smith and former 49ers coach Mike Nolan.

[Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2016 9:30am]

    

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