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Buccaneers promote OC Dirk Koetter to head coach


Dirk Koetter is the new man in Tampa.

The Buccaneers hired Koetter as the team's new head coach, the team announced Friday. Koetter -- who served as the team's offensive coordinator this past season -- replaces Lovie Smith, who was fired last week. Koetter's contract is for five years, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Bucs will formally introduce Koetter as their head coach Friday at 2 p.m. ET.

Koetter had been seen as a favorite to land the job from the moment Smith was shown the door. Koetter was hailed for his work with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, and it became clear that the Bucs put huge value on continuity for their No. 1 overall pick. The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that the Bucs felt compelled to act on Smith when the Dolphins honed in on Koetter as a potential head coach candidate.

Koetter, 56, is a coaching lifer. He was a head coach for six years at Arizona State and had stops in the NFL with the Falcons and the Jaguars as an offensive coordinator. His first big challenge will be to build a quality staff around him.

NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Bucs leadership wasn't happy with Smith's supporting staff, and Koetter's first order of business should be to install a defensive coordinator he believes can turn around one of the NFL's worst defenses.

Teams that fire their head coaches don't get credited for organizational stability, but that's actually what the Bucs are trying to do here. They believe in Koetter and his ability to help Winston reach his maximum potential, so they made the only move that would prevent Koetter from walking out the door.

The lesson? It's good to be attached to the young franchise star.


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