During the lowest points of the regular season in Tampa Bay, Buccaneers fans wanted the team to fire Greg Schiano and immediately hire Lovie Smith.
They have gotten their wish, albeit belatedly.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that Lovie Smith will become the next head coach of the Buccaneers, and that the two sides are finalizing the terms of a contract.
Smith served as linebackers coach in Tampa from 1996 through 2000, before becoming the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2001. Three years later, the Bears hired Smith to be the team’s head coach, where he served for nine seasons.
The move comes only two days after the Buccaneers fired Greg Schiano. Because Smith is a minority candidate, the Bucs were able to move swiftly, hiring Smith without interviewing any other candidates.
There had been speculation that the Buccaneers also will bring back former G.M. Rich McKay. Before filling that spot, however, at least one minority candidate for the G.M. position must be interviewed.
The decision to hire Smith before hiring a G.M. will raise questions regarding whether Smith or the General Manager will have final say over the roster and the draft. During Smith’s time in Chicago, former G.M. Jerry Angelo and then G.M. Phil Emery held those powers.