Buc Stops Here: Raheem Morris "Inaugurated" as Tampa Bay Head Coach

Oliver EllisCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2009

With America's first black president days away from his inauguration, 32-year-old Raheem Morris today went through something similar.

In front of the notorious Tampa media once dubbed the "dumbest in America" by Warren Sapp, Morris smiled and joked with reporters as he faced a range of questions on his new post as Buccaneers head coach, a day after Jon Gruden's abrupt firing.

When his situation was likened to that of Barack Obama's, Morris sheepishly grinned, "I don't want to put President Obama and I in the same sentence right now," before adding, "I appreciate the compliment(!)"

Such was the demeanour of Tampa's new head coach. Taking over from the seven-year stint of Jon Gruden, Morris was defensive backs coach last season.

"I received a call yesterday afternoon. I walked into One Buc Place, met with my bosses, and found out I was getting a promotion."

"I just got a promotion as defensive coordinator with the Buccaneers. I had a chance at that time to talk with my bosses, the Glazers, about my philosophies, beliefs, etc. I got the call on my way to get a haircut."

Whilst the press were keen to get down to business, Morris was quite clear about the nature of the press conference.

"There's a plan in place. We have plenty of time to talk about that. I can't give you any specifics regarding the coaching staff. There is a plan. I'm just trying to enjoy this."

New general manager Mark Dominik has been in the organisation since 1995 and worked as a pro personnel director for the past eight years.

Dominik did not address the media, but Morris said, "Mark and I have worked together a long time. We've seen each other rise and seen each other fall. We've done some great things together. He's going to listen to your opinion, weigh it, and respect it. He's a tireless worker. I have nothing but respect for Mark."

When finally asked about his predecessor, Jon Gruden, Morris said, "It's always bittersweet. I learned so much from Jon and respect him.

"When he says the things he said to me in a text today, I am fine with that. He told me to take this thing and run with it, and that's what I plan to do."