TAMPA, Fla. - The Bruce Arians era has begun in Tampa Bay, or Tampa BAy, as he's called it.
After a year away from the sidelines, the 66-year-old returns to be the Buccaneers’ new head coach. Today, team general manager Jason Licht introduced Arians to reporters at One Buc Place as “the coolest damn coach in the NFL.”
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here,” Arians began, praising Licht and the Glazer family ownership. “There’s three keys to winning in this league: Ownership, general manager, head coach combination. Then when you’ve got a quarterback, you’ve got a good head start.”
Arians is the 12th man to lead the Bucs. He's expected to turn around a franchise that has failed to make the playoffs since the 2007 season.
“This is a great group. I think we have the core here to win quickly,” he continued. “I’m not about building; I’m about reloading.”
Arians is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. He earned the award in 2012 with the Indianapolis Colts and 2014 with the Arizona Cardinals. Prior to coming to Tampa Bay, Arians spent five seasons as the head coach of the Cardinals, compiling a 49-30-1 regular season record. He also led the team to its second ever NFC Championship appearance in 2015.
Arians has already started putting his coaching staff together, hiring Todd Bowles as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator. The two have a long relationship, dating back to when Arians was head coach at Temple University. More recently, Bowles served as Arians’ defensive coordinator in Arizona from 2013-2014.
Arians said former Bucs quarter Byron Leftwich will be the team's offensive coordinator and would handle play-calling duties. Leftwich was an intern for the Cardinals in 2016 under Arians, and would go on to become the team's offensive coordinator. He played for the Bucs in 2009.
“Byron, I think, is a rising star in this business. What he did with the interim title [in Arizona] – it wasn’t even his offense; it was Mike McCoy’s offense – and he did a heck of a job with some rookies. So he’s more than ready,” Arians stated. “I think this coaching staff is going to be outstanding.”
Arians also praised Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who had attended one of Arians’ football camps as a teenager. The new coach said he’s looking forward to working with “an unbelievable athlete.”
“From that football camp, five kids are in the NFL. I have kind of followed their careers just because they were in our camp,” Arians said. “It’s been fun but it’s been enjoyable for me to watch [Winston] grow. And I look forward for a lot more growth.”