The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano on Monday after just two seasons on the job, and it appears the franchise is moving quickly to replace him.
Reports now claim that former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith is the favorite to replace Schiano and that a deal could be consummated quickly. Smith is reportedly “very interested” in the gig and wants to secure a head job for next season as soon as possible.
Smith had a long interview with the Houston Texans a week ago, but the two sides apparently decided he wasn’t a fit. ESPN’s Adam Schefter claims that multiple league sources have told him the Bucs want to step in and hire him.
The 55-year-old Smith spent nine seasons as the head coach of the Bears, compiling a record of 81-63. He won three NFC North titles in Chicago and took the team to Super Bowl XLI where the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts 29-17. He was fired last season despite leading the team to a 10-6 finish.
Smith was the linebackers coach for the Buccaneers from 1996-2000 and parlayed that into a job as the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. He jumped from the Rams to take over as the Bears’ head coach in 2004.
After a tumultuous two seasons under Schiano the Bucs clearly want to find an established head coach with a proven track record of winning in the NFL. Smith definitely has that. While some in Chicago would argue that he’s not a truly great coach, the guy has won in the NFL and did so largely without a solid quarterback leading him teams.
Tampa Bay needs stability and Smith would immediately provide that. He seems like the right fit for the job.