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Lovie Smith hired by Tampa Bay Buccaneers as new head coach

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired their head coach and general manager, so it was expected they would look for a new GM first before hiring a head coach. However, ESPN reported on Jan.1 that Lovie Smith was hired as the new Buccaneers head coach.

The news that Tampa Bay was expected to talk to Smith was public knowledge because former Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy recommended him for the job. He served as the linebackers coach in Tampa Bay under Dungy.

The season was a mess for Tampa Bay with former head coach Greg Schiano opening up the season with eight consecutive losses before finishing 4-12. Early in the season, Schiano ended up in a feud with starting quarterback Josh Freeman, where he stripped him of the job, refused to allow him to be on the field with the team during games, allowed the news that Freeman was in the substance abuse program to leak to the press, and then waived him.

By the end of the season, it was clear changes needed to be made.

Lovie Smith last coached the Chicago Bears until he was fired after the 2012 season. While in Chicago, he compiled an 81-63 record, led Chicago to the NFC North title three times and to the Super Bowl in 2006.

Smith now heads to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise that won the NFC South three times since 2000, winning the Super Bowl in 2002. However, the team has only been to the playoffs twice since that Super Bowl, losing in the Wild Card both times, and have only had one winning season in the last five years.

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