The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that Lovie Smith has been hired as the 10th head coach in franchise history, signing a five-year contract with the club. An introductory press conference will be held in the team auditorium at One Buccaneer place at 2:00 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 6. The event will also be carried live on Buccaneers.com.
“Today is an exciting day for the Buccaneer organization, and the entire Tampa Bay community, as we welcome back Lovie Smith. We knew from the start of our search that he was the ideal man to lead our team into a new era of Buccaneer football. Lovie is an accomplished and very well-respected head coach who has enjoyed success at every level of his 30-year career,” said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer.
Smith joins Tampa Bay for his 31st year of coaching, after having spent nine seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Bears (2004-12). While with the Bears, Smith amassed a record of 81-63 (.563 win pct.), including three division titles, two NFC Championship game appearances (2006 and 2010) and a berth in Super Bowl XLI. The AP Coach of the Year in 2005, Smith becomes one of only eight active NFL head coaches with at least 80 victories, and his 81 wins with Chicago are the third-most in Bears history.
Under Smith’s guidance, the Bears defense was one of the best in the NFL, allowing the third-lowest opponent passer rating, the fourth-fewest points per game, the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns and recording the second-most interceptions in the league during that time. Throughout his tenure, Chicago also enjoyed some of its best offensive success in team history, recording the third-most points in franchise history (427) during the 2006 Super Bowl campaign. In 2009, quarterback Jay Cutler set franchise records in completions (336) and attempts (555), while his 3,666 passing yards were the second -most in franchise history. In Smith's final season, the Bears boasted an offensive attack comprised of a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver for only the second time in team history.
Before taking over as Chicago’s head coach, Smith spent three seasons with the St. Louis Rams as the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator (2003) and defensive coordinator (2001-02). Prior to his time in St. Louis, Smith spent four seasons tutoring linebackers in Tampa Bay as part of Tony Dungy's coaching staff, helping to create one of the league’s most dominant defenses of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Smith spent his first 14 years as a collegiate coach, working at Tulsa (1983-86), Wisconsin (1987), Arizona State (1988-91), Kentucky (1992), Tennessee (1993-94) and Ohio State (1995).
Smith and his wife, MaryAnne, are the proud parents of three children: Mikal, Matthew and Miles. A native of Big Sandy, Texas, Smith led the Big Sandy Wildcats to three consecutive state championships in high school and was all-state as a defensive end and linebacker. He went on to play collegiately at the University of Tulsa and was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Missouri Conference selection.