Breaking from tradition, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Greg Schiano to be the ninth head coach in franchise history. Schiano will be the first Bucs coach since inaugural coach John McKay to come straight from the college ranks to be given his first NFL coaching gig. He was given a five-year contract, which as much as co-chairman Joel Glazer's words, suggest a certain level of confidence (via Buccaneers.com):
"During our thorough search, we met with numerous impressive candidates, but Coach Schiano surely distinguished himself. From his leadership skills to his impressive track record, he is, simply put, the right man for the job."
Schiano is tasked with turning around a franchise that is coming off a 4-12 season that got previous coach Raheem Morris fired after three years. That season, as well as Morris' first in which the team went 3-13, have forced Bucs fans to relive a period of their history they probably hoped was well past them. Prior to Tony Dungy leading to the Bucs to 10-6 record in 1997, the franchise had enjoyed just two winning seasons in the first 21 years of existence. The Bucs went on to win at least nine games in eight of the next 12 seasons, and also won their only Super Bowl.
In Schiano, the Bucs clearly feel they've found the man to return them to that past glory. During 11 seasons at Rutgers, Schiano took a team that went 3-20 his first two years and turned them into a legitimate power. The Scarlet Knights went to bowls in six of his final seven seasons there and won five of them. Schiano also has some previous NFL experience, having worked for the Chicago Bears from 1996-98.
"Coach Schiano is a bright, meticulous teacher who knows how to get the most out of his players," said Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik. "He built and ran a pro-style program at Rutgers, and he’s a defensive-minded coach whose teams have always been characterized by toughness and a physical style of play."
For more on Schiano's hiring, be sure to check out Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation.