Tampa Bay Bucs Fire Jon Grudon, Set to Hire Raheem Morris

January 17, 2009 at 4:50 am Leave a comment

jon-gruden-buccaneers-802.jpgJon Gruden is out, replaced by another young rising star as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Within hours of dismissing their Super Bowl-winning coach, the Bucs turned to defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as the successor — a move confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the decision who requested anonymity because the team had not yet scheduled an announcement.
Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were fired earlier in the day, three weeks after the team completed one of the biggest collapses in NFL history, losing four straight games following a 9-3 start to miss the playoffs.
Director of pro personnel Mark Dominik, who has been with the Bucs for 14 seasons, will replace Allen.
A news conference to announce the moves could be held as early as Saturday.
Gruden was one of the league’s hottest commodities when he was hired seven years ago to get a team built by Tony Dungy to the Super Bowl. But Gruden only guided the Bucs to the postseason twice after becoming the youngest coach to win the NFL title in January 2003.


That wasn’t nearly enough for the sons of owner Malcolm Glazer, who took their time before deciding they had seen enough of aging quarterbacks, mediocre drafts and a coach and general manager who often pinned the blame for poor finishes on injuries.
Morris has been a fast climber, too. He was the Bucs’ defensive backs coach the past two seasons, and was promoted to defensive coordinator on Christmas Day, filling a vacancy that opened for next season when Monte Kiffin decided to join his son, Lane, at the University of Tennessee.
The former Hofstra player and assistant coach, who recently interviewed for the opening to replace Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos, has been with Tampa Bay for six seasons over two stints.
Morris initially joined Gruden’s staff as a defensive quality assistant in 2002, was a defensive assistant in 2003 and assistant defensive backs coach for the next two seasons before spending one year as defensive coordinator at Kansas State.
Dominik joined the Bucs in 1995 and served in a number of personnel and scouting positions before becoming director of pro personnel eight years ago.
Gruden, who was 39 when the Bucs beat Oakland in the Super Bowl, went 60-57 in seven seasons, including 3-2 in the playoffs. Allen was general manager for the last five seasons in a reunion of a relationship that began when both were with the Raiders.
“These decisions are never easy. This is the toughest decision you can make for an NFL franchise. … Jon and Bruce are consummate professionals. They’ve poured their heart and soul into this franchise,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said. “It’s really been an honor to work with them. They gave their all.”
The Bucs were tied for first place in the NFC South heading into December, but finished with losses to Carolina and Atlanta on the road and San Diego and Oakland at home, where they had been 6-0. One more win would have landed a NFC wild-card berth.
The 9-7 record this season gave Gruden consecutive winning records for the first time since arriving in Tampa Bay, yet still left the Bucs out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years and prompted the Glazer family to reevaluate the direction of the franchise.
“After taking a lot of time to look at our franchise, look where it’s been, look where it is, look where we want to go, we just felt this was the time for a change,” Glazer said.
The Glazers fired Dungy after consecutive first-round playoff losses in Philadelphia and used four high draft picks — two No. 1s and two No. 2s — and $8 million cash to pry Gruden away from the Raiders following the 2001 season.
The hiring produced immediate dividends, with Gruden retooling an inept offense and riding a defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL to the Super Bowl in his first season.
Coincidentally, his firing came four days after Dungy announced his retirement following a successful seven-year run that included one NFL title with the Indianapolis Colts.
Gruden, who had three years remaining on a contract extension he received after winning the NFC South in 2007, leaves as the winningest coach in franchise history.
But since going 15-4, including the Super Bowl, in his first season with Tampa Bay, Gruden went 45-53 and made quick exits from the playoffs at home after winning division titles in 2005 and 2007.
“This isn’t a decision that’s made on one play or one game or one week or one thing,” Glazer said. “You look at the totality of the situation, evaluate it, look at where your franchise is. For us, the goal is to build a championship team that can compete year in and year out.”
Source: AP

Entry filed under: Sports. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Big Chill Blast of Arctic Paralyzes Eastern US Major Troop Decisions for Afghanistan War Await Obama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

January 2009

%d bloggers like this: