Bucs Fire Assistant DL Coach Lori Locust; NFL's Only Woman Defensive Coach

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2023

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Asst. Defensive Line Coach Lori Locust walks onto the field before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Dallas Cowboys regular season game on September 11, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are firing assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, the team announced Thursday.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted Locust was the only woman coaching on the defensive side of the ball across the NFL. She had been with Tampa Bay since the start of the 2019 season.

Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar made history when the Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. They were the first women on the coaching staff of a Super Bowl champion.

Pro Football Hall of Fame @ProFootballHOF

These shoes were worn by <a href="https://twitter.com/Buccaneers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Buccaneers</a> Asst. DL coach Lori Locust during Super Bowl LV. With the victory, Locust and fellow assistant coach Maral Javadifar (Assistant Strength &amp; Conditioning Coach) became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WomensHistoryMonth?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WomensHistoryMonth</a> <a href="https://t.co/Siu6B74i0e">pic.twitter.com/Siu6B74i0e</a>

Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles is acting swiftly after the team finished 8-9 and lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Round.

The Bucs announced offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has also been fired, a move that the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud said would be part of "sweeping changes to their coaching staff."

"As many as five offensive assistants and two on defense are expected to be let go," Stroud wrote.

Turnover on the defensive staff shouldn't come as a surprise after the Bucs took a slight step backward on that side of the ball. They fell from ninth to 13th in defensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders. Bowles served as the team's defensive coordinator in 2022.

In general, this is also Bowles' first opportunity to tailor the coaching staff to his liking. By the time Bruce Arians stepped down to open the door for his promotion last March, the window to make any assistant coaching moves had largely closed.