The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new head coach.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was named the 11th head coach in franchise history, NFL.com reported Thursday evening. Koetter replaces Lovie Smith, who was fired Jan. 6 after two seasons at the helm.
The Bucs have finished last in the NFC South Division five straight seasons. This past season, they were in playoff contention until they lost five of their past six games. Tampa Bay hasn’t advanced to the postseason since 2007 and hasn’t won a playoff game since they claimed the Super Bowl title in 2003.
But the offense showed dramatic improvement. Led by rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall draft pick, and All-Pro running back Doug Martin, the league’s second-leading rusher, the Bucs finished the season ranked as the NFL’s fifth-best offense, the team’s highest offensive finish.
The new coach inherits one of the youngest NFL rosters, with five drafted players cracking the starting lineup the past two seasons.
The hiring is the fourth coaching change for Tampa Bay in the past eight years, one of the largest turnovers in the NFL. Raheem Morris (2009-11) replaced Jon Gruden when he was let go after the 2008 season. Morris was replaced by Greg Schiano (2012-13), whose firing led to Smith’s hire in 2014.
In a statement released after Smith’s firing, Bucs Co-Chairman Joel Glazer said team officials were disappointed there wasn’t more success the past few seasons and “we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve.”
Smith finished with a record of 8-24, including 6-10 this season.