Clyde Christensen, formerly the Bucs' quarterbacks coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator on Friday
Forty three candles. One very nice gift.
On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to offensive coordinator (terms of the contract were not disclosed). On Sunday, while the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants play in Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium, Christensen will turn 43.
Christensen becomes the Buccaneers' third offensive coordinator in three years, replacing Les Steckel, who was dismissed on January 9 after one season on the job. Steckel was hired last February to fill the vacancy created when Mike Shula was not retained. Shula served as the Bucs' coordinator for the first four years (1996-99) of Head Coach Tony Dungy's tenure.
Christensen was originally hired to Dungy's staff in 1996 as the tight ends coach. Following the 1998 season, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach, where he helped oversee the rapid development of then-rookie Shaun King in 1999. He will now serve as a coordinator in the NFL for the first time, though he held that post three times on the collegiate level.
"After going through the process with a lot of candidates, we just felt that Clyde was the best person for the job," said Dungy. "We feel like he can incorporate the good things from the past into where we would like to take this offense in the future."
Dungy's comments would seem to indicate that Christensen will operate somewhat within the framework of the new offense installed last year. He addressed that point again at the 2:00 p.m. news conference held to announce the promotion.
"I think he'll put a twist on (the Bucs' previous system)," said Dungy. "He definitely has some things in mind, some fundamental things that he would like to do. We talked about definitely keeping the terminology and the numbering system that we had from last year. We want to add some things back from the '99 season, some things that we think can help us, but he will do some new things."
Basically, Christensen is seen as the perfect candidate to meld what the Bucs have already accomplished with the direction in which they wish to go.
"I feel good about it, after talking to a lot of people and going through a lot of candidates," said Dungy. "There were some good people out there that could have come in from the outside, but I felt the best way that we could take the good things we did from '99, the good things we did from 2000 and extend that on and get better and get better focus was to go this route."
Christensen has been instrumental in the maturation of King, who has posted a 14-7 record as a starter in the regular season. King took over the starting job late in the 1999 season, leading the Buccaneers to last season's NFC Championship Game and becoming just the second rookie quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to win a playoff game with Tampa Bay's victory over Washington in the divisional playoffs.
This past season, the Buccaneer offense set or tied four offensive records, including points scored and touchdowns. Christensen concluded the 1999 campaign by serving as offensive coordinator for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, leading his team to a game-record 51 points.
Before joining the Buccaneers in 1996, the 42-year old Christensen spent two years (1994-95) as the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Clemson University. From 1992-93, he served as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Maryland.
In 1991, he served as running backs coach at South Carolina after spending the 1989-90 season as an assistant coach at Holy Cross. While coaching at Holy Cross, Christensen oversaw the receivers and tight ends in 1989 before being promoted to offensive coordinator for the 1990 season. From 1986-88, he was the offensive coordinator and also coordinated recruiting at East Carolina.
Christensen oversaw the quarterbacks and wide receivers at Temple from 1983-85 after holding the position of offensive coordinator at East Tennessee State from 1980-82. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Mississippi in 1979.
As a player, Christensen was an All-America quarterback for Fresno City Junior College from 1975-78. He continued his collegiate career as a signal-caller at North Carolina, where he lettered for the Tar Heels from 1977-78 as they earned trips to the Peach Bowl and the Liberty Bowl. He earned his bachelor's degree in industrial relations from UNC.
Christensen, a native of Covina, California, lives in Tampa with his wife, Debbie, and their three daughters – Rachel, Rebecca and Ruth.