TAMPA — Dirk Koetter knocked it out of the park as an offensive coordinator in his first year with the Bucs, grooming quarterback Jameis Winston into a rookie of the year finalist, resurrecting running back Doug Martin and transforming the offense into one of the top five in the league.
He might have earned the chance to do more.
Koetter interviewed for the Bucs' head coaching job Monday with general manager Jason Licht, who called him a "strong candidate.''
Koetter, 56, is the third known NFL assistant to interview for the position which became available when Lovie Smith was fired last Wednesday after two seasons and an 8-24 record.
Licht, who is leading the Bucs' coaching search, interviewed Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott last week. Both assistants are still involved in the playoffs.
Last week, Koetter reportedly interviewed with the 49ers.
"He's put a good resume in front of him for this year," Licht said of Koetter. "Historically the best offense we've had here in Tampa Bay. He's a good communicator. He's done great things with Jameis. There's a lot of good football coaches out there. Dirk's one of them."
Koetter was a head coach at Boise State and Arizona State but spent the past nine seasons as an NFL coordinator. The Bucs set a franchise record with 6,014 total yards last season. Winston joined Cam Newton and Andrew Luck as rookie quarterbacks to pass for 4,000 yards.
Licht has said there is no timetable for hiring. Final approval would have to come from the Glazer family which owns the team. NFL owners were in Houston Tuesday and again today.
Contact Rick Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud.