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Should OC/DC experience be a prerequisite for a Head Coach?

One of the popular knocks on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris (there are many after a 3-13 inaugural season) is the lack of major coaching experience. A Coordinator's duties seem to be the magic mark on a resume that many feel would qualify a candidate to run an NFL organization. With the difference between the Professional and Collegiate level becoming hazier every year, a deciding standard such as the leadership of more than just a handful of players is what leans most people to approve or disapprove a Man from taking over a team in the Big Leagues.

To be fair, the more experience a coach has the better; its one less thing at at a critical juncture that he will have to deal with for the first time ever. But is it a requirement?

In short, No.

There are many atributes that qualify a man to be a leader, but there is first time for everything, as this list of first time Head Coaches attests- not one man in this list had deeper experience than Raheem Morris did before the Glazers appointed him Head Buc in Charge.

Some of the names are from many years gone by. Some just a decade or so ago. Then you have the list of recent coaches who have yet to prove anything, but do have the job and do have their team competing. Take the list for what you will; it is not a concrete slab where it can withstand major salvos of criticism. However, for the most part, when taken as a whole, its a wall of evidence that supports one major etiquette that cannot be refuted: You do NOT have to be an Offensive Coordinator or Defensive Coordinator to be considered for Head Coach.                                                                               ---- List after the Jump----                                                     




  • Chuck Noll: DB coach with Baltimore; straight to HC. Result 4 Superbowl championships.
  • John Madden went from Linebackers coach to Head Coach.
  • Joe Gibbs spent one year as OC with the 5-11 Bucs before becoming HOF coach with the Redskins.
  • Mike Ditka spent only one year as the OC for Dallas before being named HC of Da Bears. Ditka replaced Dan Reeves.
Some Familiar Names:



  • Herman Edwards- Debatable if you want to count him as successful, however he was a Head Coach twice in this league..        
  • Andy Reid- Eagles went from QB coach to HC. 5 NFC Championship appearances...                

Current Head Coaches ...

  • Superbowl participant Jim Caldwell, Colts.
  • John Harbaugh- Baltimore DB coach to HC.
  • Josh McDaniels did a lot with what he was given.
  • Tony Sparano spent 4 years as  an OC @ boston college 20 years ago, does that disqualify him from this list?? Morris did have one year as DC in 2006, You can scratch this guy off if you want....
  • Mike Singletary-YOU tell him he shouldnt be a head coach LOL.
Of course, this is not to say that Raheem Morris is going to turn out like any one on this list. The Bucs could go 5-11 in 2010 and he could be let go, never to be heard from again.
Coaching decisions play only a part of the big picture, albeit a very large part. Having or not having the right personnel on a team can have its effect to. For example, Im sure we all can agree that Jim Caldwell inherited a well oiled machine.
So again, it doesnt make it a forgone conclusion that Raheem will follow in any of these footsteps. Instead it only means that there is a first time for everything. A lot of mistakes were made in 2009 that cannot happen again. There were some equally good decisions to, we just need to take off the glasses, or blinders, and see them for ourselves.                                                                                                                                                           

Raheem Morris- Head Coach Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1998 Graduate Assistant; Hofstra
1999 DB/ Special Teams assistant; Cornell
2000-2001 Defensive Backs; Hofstra
2002-2005 Defensive Quality Control/Defensive Assistant; Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2006 Defensive Coordinator: Kansas State 
2007-2008 Defensive Backs Coach; Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2009- Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator; Tampa Bay Buccaneers