The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have named Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Leslie Frazier and I consider myself very fortunate to have him on my staff,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith. “Leslie is one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL and he has a long track record of helping players reach their full potential. He transformed Minnesota’s defense into one of the league’s elite units during his time there and I look forward to working with him to do the same here in Tampa Bay.”
Frazier, entering his 16th season as an NFL coach, comes to the Buccaneers after spending the last three full seasons (2011-13) as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach. In 2012, Frazier set a Vikings record by improving the team’s win total by seven victories and earning a Wild Card berth. Frazier originally joined Minnesota in 2007 as defensive coordinator, before adding assistant head coach duties (2008-10) and his eventual promotion to interim head coach for the final six games of the 2010 season. While working as defensive coordinator, Frazier’s units finished in the top 10 three times (sixth in 2008 and 2009, eighth in 2010).
During Frazier’s seven seasons, the Vikings pass rush flourished, recording the most sacks in the NFL (297) and the second-most forced fumbles (114) during that span. In 2009, the team posted an NFL-best 48 sacks. While in Minnesota, Frazier played a key role in the development of defensive end Jared Allen, who has posted an NFL-leading 85.5 sacks since joining the Vikings in 2008.
The Vikings run defense stacked up as one of the league’s best under Frazier, allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game – the second-lowest total in the NFL during that seven year span – including 2007 (74.1 ypg) and 2008 (76.9 ypg), when it was the No.1 run defense in the league. Frazier also played a role in the development of Pro Bowl and All-Pro defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams, both key anchors to Minnesota’s stout run defense.
Prior to joining Minnesota, Frazier worked in Indianapolis, as a defensive assistant (2005) and assistant to the head coach/defensive backs coach (2006), helping lead the 2006 Super Bowl Championship team. Under his tutelage, safety Bob Sanders became the first Colts defensive back to earn a Pro Bowl selection since 1971. Frazier helped the Colts defense to an 11th overall ranking in 2005, after having ranked 29th in yards per game in 2004.
Frazier came to Indianapolis from the Cincinnati Bengals, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2003-04. He entered the NFL in 1999 as the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach, a position he held for four seasons. During his time with the Eagles, he helped cornerback Troy Vincent earn four Pro Bowl berths, while safety Brian Dawkins earned three trips. In his final three seasons with the team, Philadelphia advanced to the playoffs each year, including back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances.
Frazier spent 11 seasons as a collegiate coach before entering the NFL, getting his coaching start as the inaugural head coach at Trinity International University, a position he held from 1988-96. Taking over the new program, he helped lead the team to two Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles. The school later named the football field in his honor. Following his stint as head coach at Trinity, Frazier spent two seasons (1997-98) as the defensive backs coach at the University of Illinois.
An All-American defensive back at Alcorn State, Frazier played six seasons for the Chicago Bears (1981-86), including starting on the 1985 Super Bowl championship team and leading the team in interceptions three consecutive seasons (1983-85). He and his wife, Gale, have three children: Kieron, Chantel and Corey.