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Smith Fills Out Coaching Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2014

The majority of Lovie Smith's staff is now in place with Thursday's announcement of 11 additions, including Special Teams Coordinator Kevin O'Dea and Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson

  • New Head Coach Lovie Smith has moved quickly to construct the majority of Buccaneer his coaching staff
  • Kevin O'Dea, who previously worked with Smith in Tampa from 1996-2001, will coordinate the special teams
  • Former Buccaneer great Hardy Nickerson also returns to tutor the linebackers
At his introductory press conference on Monday, new Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith said his first order of business was to assemble a coaching staff of "stern teachers that can relate to players."  In the hours since, Smith has been taking care of business without delay.

With Jeff Tedford already in place as the offensive coordinator and Leslie Frazier officially announced as the defensive coordinator on Monday night, Smith turned his attention to the third phase of the game – special teams – and to fleshing out the remainder of the staff.  On Wednesday, the Buccaneers announced the addition of 11 men to their 2014 coaching staff, including Kevin O'Dea as special teams coordinator and former Buccaneer great Hardy Nickerson as linebackers coach.

In addition, the Buccaneers have named Marcus Arroyo as quarterbacks coach; Joe Cullen as defensive line coach; Andrew Hayes-Stoker as wide receivers coach; Dave Kennedy as head strength and conditioning coach; Larry Marmie as senior defensive assistant; Mikal Smith as safeties coach; Tim Spencer as running backs coach; Ben Steele as quality control coach; and Matt Wiegand as assistant offensive line coach.

Smith's staff features coaches with a variety of backgrounds, from a former NFL head coach in Frazier to men such as Arroyo getting their first opportunity in the pros, much like Smith did on Tony Dungy's first staff in 1996. There are long-time NFL assistants like O'Dea, Marmie and Spencer; up-and-comers like Smith, the eldest of Lovie Smith's three sons and a Dallas Cowboys assistant in 2013; and, of course, the returning Pro Bowl Buccaneer player, Nickerson.

-- New Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson played four seasons with the Buccaneers under Lovie Smith
"I think one of the most important things you can do as a head football coach is get your staff assembled," said Smith on Monday.  "There's a lot that goes into it – some experience, some youth, guys with an expertise at certain things, and just getting guys that can work together.  I have spent a lot of time [preparing for this].  That's why I was able to really move pretty quick on lining the guys up that I wanted on that coaching staff."

Arroyo joins the Buccaneers with 10 years of coaching experience, most recently having spent the 2013 season as the offensive coordinator/outside receivers coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to his time with the Golden Eagles, Arroyo worked two seasons under Tedford at Cal, first as quarterbacks coach in 2011 followed by a promotion to pass game coordinator in 2012.

Prior to joining Cal, Arroyo served for two seasons (2009-10) at Wyoming as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  He began his college coaching career in 2003, serving as an undergraduate assistant coach at his alma mater, San Jose State, for one year. In 2004, he was the offensive coordinator at Prairie View A&M, followed by four seasons back at San Jose State.  There he served as an offensive graduate assistant in 2005, quarterbacks coach in 2006 and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2007-08.

Arroyo played quarterback for the SJSU Spartans in 1998 and from 2000-02. He finished his career among the school's all-time leaders in passing yards (No. 9, 4,603), total offense yards (No. 9, 4,525) and passing efficiency (No. 10, 115.6).

Cullen spent the 2013 season as the defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, where his unit played a key role in leading the team to a top-10 total defensive ranking. His previous NFL experience includes stops as a defensive line coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2010-12) and Detroit Lions (2006-08); in Detroit, Cullen coached a Lions pass rush that finished in the top 10 in 2007 and 2008 in terms of sacks produced.

The former three-time all-conference nose guard at Massachusetts also spent over 16 years coaching on the collegiate level, with stops at Idaho State (2009), Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002-04), Memphis (2001), Louisiana State (1999), Richmond (1992-98; 2000) and Massachusetts (1990-91).

Hayes-Stoker worked under Smith in Chicago from 2006-12, first as the team’s football operations and offensive assistant from 2006-09, overseeing football and business related duties, and then spending three seasons (2010-12) as an assistant wide receivers coach.  In that latter position, he aided Bears receivers in all capacities while assisting the offensive coordinator with unit meetings and planning.  He comes to Tampa Bay following a 2013 season spent tutoring running backs at Florida International University.

Before breaking into the coaching ranks in 2005 as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M, Hayes-Stoker served as a recruiter at his alma mater, Texas Christian University, from 2004-05. As a Horned Frog, Hayes-Stoker was a two-time captain and earned multiple selections to conference academic teams in addition to All-American scholar honors.

Kennedy joins the Buccaneers after six seasons with Texas A&M (2008-13). Before joining A&M, Kennedy spent four seasons with Nebraska (2004-07), the same school he got his start at in 1982 as a student assistant. He graduated in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in strength coaching and worked as an assistant for the Cornhuskers from 1986-88.

Prior to the 1989 season, Kennedy was hired by Ohio State, working there until 2001. During his 13 seasons with the Buckeyes, he worked with many notable players, including 17 first-round NFL Draft selections. Before the 1993 Holiday Bowl, Kennedy received Ohio State’s Admiral’s Trophy, which is voted on by the players and given to the person whose dedication, hard work and spirit most inspired the team. Kennedy also spent two seasons at Pittsburgh (2002-03).

Marmie has more than four decades of coaching experience, including 13 seasons in the NFL ranks, spending three seasons with Seattle (2006-08), two seasons with St. Louis (2004-05) and eight seasons with Arizona (1996-03). Most recently, Marmie worked as the defensive backs coach for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League (2009-12).

Before joining the professional ranks, Marmie spent 28 seasons coaching at the collegiate level, beginning at Morehead State (1968-71), before moving on to Eastern Kentucky (1972-76), Tulsa (1977-78), North Carolina (1979-82), Tennessee (1983-84; 1992-94), Arizona State (1985-87, defensive coordinator; 1988-91, head coach) and UCLA (1995). Marmie played quarterback at Eastern Kentucky (1962-65).

Nickerson previously worked with Head Coach Lovie Smith in Chicago (2007) as the Bears linebackers coach, helping linebacker Lance Briggs make the Pro Bowl that season.

During his 16-year career, Nickerson played for the Steelers (1987-92), Buccaneers (1993-99), Jaguars (2000-01) and Packers (2002), and was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade team. During Nickerson’s seven seasons in Tampa Bay he was chosen as the NFLPA Linebacker of the Year and earned two AP first-team All-Pro honors.

Nickerson spent four seasons (1996-99) playing under Smith, who was the Buccaneers' linebackers coach from 1996-2000.  Nickerson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in all four of those seasons, averaging 137 tackles per year, while adding a total of eight forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries and four interceptions. In 1997 Nickerson was also chosen as the recipient of the NFL’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award, given annually to one NFL player who exhibits excellence both on the field and in the community.  Nickerson was a three-time team MVP at the University of California (1983-86).

O’Dea enters his 20th NFL season, previously having coached with the San Diego Chargers (Defensive/Special Teams Assistant 1994-95), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Offensive/Defensive Assistant, 1996-2001), Detroit Lions (Special Teams Assistant 2002-03), Arizona Cardinals (Special Teams Coordinator 2004-05), Chicago Bears (Assistant Special Teams Coach 2006-07; 2011-12), New York Jets (Assistant Special Teams Coach 2008-09) and Kansas City Chiefs (Assistant Special Teams Coach 2013). O’Dea has also coached in the UFL (2010 Hartford Colonials Special Teams Coordinator) and in the collegiate ranks.

Prior to joining the NFL, O’Dea spent eight years as a collegiate coach. He began his coaching career at his alma mater of Lock Haven University, where, when his playing career was cut short, he coached wide receivers (1986). Following his time with Lock Haven, O’Dea spent one season coaching freshman defensive backs at Cornell (1987) before working as a graduate assistant at Virginia (1989-90) and Penn State (1991) before being promoted to assistant strength and conditioning/defensive line/linebackers coach (1992-93) for the Nittany Lions. A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, O’Dea spent four years in the Coast Guard (1979-83) before enrolling in Lock Haven.

Smith joins the Buccaneers after spending one season as the nickelback coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to his time in Dallas, Smith spent three seasons working for the Chicago Bears, first as defensive quality control (2010-11), before being promoted to defensive assistant/nickelback coach (2012).

Before joining the Bears, Smith was an assistant coach at Trinity International University (Deerfield, Ill.), for two seasons (2006-07), first as the defensive backs coach before adding the duties of special teams coordinator in 2007.

Spencer served as running backs coach for the Chicago Bears for nine seasons (2004-12), coaching under Smith during the latter's tenure in the NFC North. Spencer had great success tutoring Chicago’s ballcarriers, with individual players recording 1,000-yard rushing seasons on five different occasions (Matt Forté – 2008, 2010, 2012; Thomas Jones – 2005-06). During that time, the Bears as a team surpassed the 2,000-yard rushing mark twice (2005, 2011), marking the only two times such a feat has been accomplished in Bears history, and fell less than 100 yards shy of that mark again in 2006.

Spencer began his coaching career at Ohio State, where he tutored running backs from 1994-2003. With the Buckeyes, Spencer coached Eddie George during George’s Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1995.  Spencer was also part of the team’s national championship run in 2002.

A Buckeye running back himself, Spencer played for OSU from 1979-1982, leading the team in rushing during his final two seasons.  He closed his career with 3,553 yards on the ground and served as a senior co-captain, earning team MVP honors. Spencer was the second-overall pick in the 1983 USFL draft, where he played one year each for Chicago (1983), Arizona (1984) and Memphis (1985), before moving to the NFL and playing for the San Diego Chargers (1985-90), where he was a four-year starter at fullback.

Steele will serve the Buccaneers as offensive quality control coach and joins the team following a season as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at University of California-Davis. Prior to his time with the Aggies, Steele spent two seasons (2011-12) at the University of California as an administrative assistant for Cal’s offensive staff. He also worked two years with the University of Colorado as an operations and recruiting assistant (2009) and graduate assistant (2010), as well as spending a year at his alma mater, Mesa State, as an offensive assistant coach (2008).

Steele played professionally from 2001-07 with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans. He joined the NFL following two seasons at Mesa State where he was an All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honoree.

Wiegand joins the Buccaneers’ coaching staff as assistant offensive line coach following the 2013 season at UC-Davis, where he served as offensive line coach. Prior to that, he spent two seasons (2011-12) at the University of California as a graduate assistant and assisting tight ends and two seasons (2009-10) at the University of Utah, where he was part of two bowl teams and assisted the offensive line.

Weigand played on the offensive line at the University of La Verne, where he was named to the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team in 2006.