The Bucs fired Lovie Smith last Wednesday at 10 p.m. in what was a surprise move, at least in terms of timing. Reports quickly suggested that the team did so in response to Dirk Koetter getting increasing interest as a potential head coach. While the Bucs interviewed two other candidates in Sean McDermott and Harold Goodwin,Koetter continues to be the front-runner.
At 56, Koetter's a coaching veteran with a long history both in and outside the NFL. He got his start in college as an offensive coordinator for San Francisco State (1985), UTEP (1986-88), Missouri (1989-93), Boston College (1994-95) and Oregon (1996-97) before being hired as the head coach of Boise State. There, he went 26-10 in three years winning two Humanitarian bowls before heading to Arizona State to take over that program. He was less successful in his second head coaching job, going 40-34 from 2001 through 2006 and winning two bowl games before being let go. At Arizona State he also dealt with some troubling off-field issues from his players, which raises some questions about how he'll handle those things in the NFL. Apparently, the Bucs aren't overly concerned.
Koetter then moved to the NFL where he first became the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-2011, getting the best out of David Garrard, before helping Matt Ryan reach new heights from 2012-2014. The Bucs hired him this past season after the Falcons allowed him to leave, and he did a terrific job guiding Jameis Winston through his first season.
Koetter will likely retain his offensive coaching staff and nothing should change on that side of the ball for the Bucs, but he'll have to find a new defensive coordinator and see to what extent the Bucs need to revamp their personnel on that side of the ball. Though that will mostly be Jason Licht's job, as the general manager was given the lead in finding a new head coach -- and has full control over the roster now.