TAMPA—The two most-talked-about coaches in Tampa Bay were in the same room on Saturday.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper and Bucs coach Bruce Arians met before Saturday’s Lightning game. The Lightning presented Arians with a personalized jersey, in the new alternate black and grey theme.
“He’s got that old-school passion,” Cooper said. “That’s probably what kept him around the game so long and why he’s had so much success. In meeting him, I know the Bucs are in good hands.”
The two had never met before, but Cooper had read about Arians. He is good friends with Bucs general manager Jason Licht and was sure he’d make a good hire.
Arians is a big hockey fan. He grew up a fan of the Flyers, in the Broad Street Bullies days.
“The game’s so fast,” he said on the Fox Sports Sun intermission report, “there’s so much skill involved, it’s one of my favorite sports.”
The Bucs coach was recognized on the videoboard and greeted by a loud cheer from the fans. He also milled about with the fans on the concourse.
Arians has connections to at least one other coach with Tampa Bay ties. Former Rays manager Joe Maddon helped recruit him to the area.
Also on the intermission report, Arians commented that the sky is the limit for Jameis Winston. He feels accountability will help build a winning culture.
“The fact that we have to be accountable to each other,” he said, “on and off the field, at all times, with every decision you make has to be with a ring in mind.”