Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fans: Meet Four Crucial Coaches

Josh ThurmanContributor IMay 29, 2009

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 14: Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 14, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The 2008 season did not finish the way Buccaneers players or fans wanted. On the cusp of a second-straight postseason appearance, Tampa Bay floundered and found themselves on the outside looking in.

The organization decided that Head Coach Jon Gruden would be the goat of the collapse, and removed him from his duties.

By doing so the Bucs decided to go in a new direction and hired from within. Raheem Morris was promoted to the head coaching position.

Morris became the youngest head coach in the NFL, and had to put together a staff that could put the franchise back on track.

Raheem Morris

Morris became the eighth coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history when the Glazers hired him on Jan. 17. Morris, who has seven years of NFL experience, has spent his entire coaching career at the professional level with the Buccaneers.

He started in 2002 as a defensive quality coach. In 2003, Morris became a defensive assistant, and by 2004 he was the assistant defensive backs coach. Raheem did leave after the 2005 season to become the defensive coordinator at Kansas State.

Morris stayed with the Wildcats for one season before returning to Tampa in 2007 to become the defensive backs coach.

While in Tampa, Morris has been part of a successful defense, and in his first year with the club won a Super Bowl.

Morris is only 32, and he hails from Irvington, N.J.

Jeff Jagodzinski

Jeff Jagodzinski is the new offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers. Jeff does have nine years of NFL experience, but this will be his first stint with Tampa.

For the last two years, Jagodzinski was the head coach at Boston College. During those seasons he led the Eagles to back to back ACC Championship Game appearances.

Jagodzinski led the 2007 Eagles to their highest ranking since 1942, when BC was ranked No. 2 in both polls.

Prior to BC, Jagodzinski spent one season as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

Jagodzinski has also spent two years with the Atlanta Falcons: first as a tight end coach, then as the offensive line coach.

While working as the offensive line coach, Jagodzinski learned from Alex Gibbs, who has helped form some of the best offensive lines in NFL history. Gibbs is best known for winning two Super Bowls with John Elway and the Denver Broncos.

During his time as the offensive line coach, the Atlanta Falcons led the NFL in rushing yards.

Jagodzinski got his NFL start with the Green Bay Packers in 1999 and was their tight ends coach until 2003.

Jim Bates

Jim Bates will start his first season as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator in 2009.

Bates has been coaching football for nearly four decades, and he is considered by some to be one of the top-tier defensive minds in the game.

Bates brings with him eight years of defensive coordinator experience. He spent the 2007 season with the Denver Broncos and helped lead them to a top 10 finish in pass defense.

Prior to Denver, Bates spent one season as the defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers. In his time with the Packers, Green Bay finished first in pass defense and seventh in overall defense.

Bates went to the Packers after spending five years with the Miami Dolphins, where he saw a lot of success.

In his first year with the Dolphins, the team led the league in interceptions and finished third in scoring defense.

In his third year with the team, Bates had six players earn Pro Bowl honors on a squad that finished third in overall defense and tied for fifth in run defense.

In 2003, Bates had the league's best red-zone defense, and his team did not allow a single 100-yard rusher all season.

Bates spent his last season with Miami in 2004. His defense finished second in total pass defense. With seven games remaining, the Dolphins fired head coach Dave Wannstedt and named Bates the interim head coach.

Bates went 3-4 in those seven games, and while the players favored Bates to become the full time coach, he left for Green Bay.

Bates' initial season as a defensive coordinator came in 1994 with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons squad tied for eighth in takeaways.

Bates will bring a lot of experience to Tampa, and this organization that has always won with defense will have high expectations of him.

Richard Bisaccia

Richard Bisaccia returns for his eighth season as the Bucs' special teams coach.

During Bisaccia's time with Tampa, the Bucs have had their most success on special teams.

In the last four seasons, three Bucs special teams players—punter Josh Bidwell, long snapper Dave Moore, and kick returner Clifton Smith—have been named to the Pro Bowl.

Prior to that, only kicker Martin Gramatica had been named to the Pro Bowl for special teams in the franchise's history.

Last season had to be Biasaccia's best yet as coach of the special teams. He saw Clifton Smith, an undrafted free agent, become only the second man in team history to run a kickoff back for a touchdown. Smith was also named to the Pro Bowl.

Kicker Matt Bryant made 32 field goals on 38 attempts last season, setting career highs in both makes and attempts in a single season.

Punter Josh Bidwell finished fifth in the NFC in gross average with 44.5 yds per attempt.

In 2007, the Bucs finished 12th in kickoff return average, seventh best in punt return coverage, and second best in kickoff return average.

However, the highlight of the year came when Michael Spurlock returned a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. It was the first time in team history the Buccaneers had returned a kickoff for a TD.

The 2006 season saw the Buccaneers finish tops in opponent kickoff return average at just 18.4 yds per return.

During 2005, Biasaccia watched as Bidwell was named to his first Pro Bowl, becoming the first Bucs punter to do so.

In 2004, the Bucs had a 24.2 team kickoff return average—good enough for fourth in the NFL. At the time it was the new Bucs single season record.

Bisaccia's first season with the Buccaneers was a special one. He joined the team in 2002 and helped Martin Gramatica go 32-39 on FGs for the season. More importantly though, Bisaccia helped the special teams play a role in winning the franchise's first Super Bowl title.

These four men will be the most important on the Buccaneers sideline. They are the coaches who will put the Bucs in the best position to win.


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