Morris takes over a team that won three division titles under his predecessor but hasn't won a playoff game since claiming the franchise's only Super Bowl title in January 2003. The Gruden era ended with four consecutive losses that denied the Bucs a postseason spot following a 9-3 start.
"He's a leader, commands the respect of the team ... and his peers," team co-chairman Joel Glazer said of Morris.
"Raheem can relate to today's NFL player," Glazer added. "The game has changed a lot. It's always changing. ... If you don't adapt to those changes, you can't compete."
Morris, 32, has no previous head-coaching experience. The Bucs promoted him to defensive coordinator in late December, and he recently interviewed for the Denver Broncos' head-coaching vacancy.
Even Morris is stunned by his rapid ascension, considering he was Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach less than one month ago, when it still looked as if the Bucs would get into the playoffs, thus likely saving Gruden's job.
"It's really hard to even imagine right now. It's all happened so fast," Morris said. "I'm so fired up. I'm happy to initiate our plan. I can't wait to get going."
Mark Dominik, who has been with the team since 1995, takes over as general manager, replacing Bruce Allen, who also was fired Friday.
"Both of these men have Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their DNA," Glazer said during a news conference at the team's headquarters. "They're youthful and energetic, and both rode a clear and steady path from the bottom to the top.
"Mark understands everything it takes to be a champion. No one knows this organization's roots and history better."
Are we really surprised?
Morris, a former Hofstra player and assistant coach, has been with Tampa Bay for six seasons over two stints. He initially joined Gruden's staff as defensive quality-control coach for the 2002 Super Bowl run and was assistant defensive backs coach for two seasons before spending 2006 as defensive coordinator at Kansas State.
Morris and former Bucs assistant Mike Tomlin, now the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, helped develop one of the top secondaries in the NFL. Both accepted other jobs after Tampa Bay led the league in total defense in 2005, and Gruden lured Morris back when the Bucs dropped to 19th against the pass the following season.
Dominik, 37, joined the Bucs in 1995 and served in a number of personnel and scouting positions under former GM Rich McKay before becoming director of pro personnel eight years ago.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press