The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have named Dirk Koetter the 11th head coach in franchise history. The press conference introducing new Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today. The event will also be carried live on Buccaneers.com.
Photos of Dirk Koetter from his 2015 season with the Buccaneers.
"We are excited to announce that Dirk Koetter will lead the Buccaneers as our new head coach," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer. "Dirk has established himself as one of the top offensive coaches in our game while enjoying success at every stop during his college and NFL career. His success with our offense last season, along with his familiarity with our players and our organization, makes Dirk the right man to lead our team moving forward."
In his first season with Tampa Bay (2015), serving as the team's offensive coordinator, Koetter helped pilot one of the most successful offenses in the NFL and one of the best in team history. The team set the franchise record for total yards (6,014 – 357.0 per game), while posting the second-most rushing yards (2,162 – 135.1 per game) and second-most passing yards (3,852 – 240.8 per game), along with the fifth-most total points (342 – 21.4 per game). Tampa Bay ranked fifth in the NFL in yards per game (375.9), fifth in rushing yards per game (135.1) and second in the league in rush average (4.75). It marked the first time in franchise history that the Buccaneers have finished in the Top 5 in total offense.
Much of Tampa Bay's offensive success in 2015 came at the hands of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, who accounted for 28 total touchdowns (22 passing, six rushing). Koetter also helped guide Winston to 4,042 passing yards, which were the second-most in a single season in team history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Winston's 22 passing touchdowns were tied for the fourth-most in a single season in team history and the fourth-most by a rookie in NFL history. His six rushing touchdowns and 28 combined touchdowns were the most in a single season by a Buccaneers quarterback, while his 28 total touchdowns were tied for the third-most by a rookie in NFL history.
"When I started this search for a new head coach, the focus was on finding someone that could be a strong leader as well as a consummate teacher, and Dirk is both," said General Manager Jason Licht. "He brings the passion and drive that will re-energize our organization and help us establish the winning culture that will help us become the championship-caliber team that our fans deserve."
Prior to Koetter's arrival, the Buccaneers ranked 29th in rushing and tied for 29th in sacks allowed in 2014. This past season, under Koetter's guidance, the unit completed an impressive turnaround. Despite starting two rookies on the offensive line, Tampa Bay still managed to block for the NFL's second-leading rusher (Doug Martin – 1,402 yards) and tied for the fourth-fewest sacks in the league. While Martin was a large part of the team's success running the ball, he was aided by running back Charles Sims, who totaled 1,090 scrimmage yards (107 rushes for 529 yards, 51 catches for 561 yards). Sims averaged 6.9 yards per touch, the most by any player in the NFL with at least 150 touches since 2011 (Darren Sproles in 2011, 7.6 avg.). Martin and Sims' combined 2,566 yards from scrimmage were the most by a running back duo in the NFL in 2015 and set a franchise record for backfield teammates.
Koetter also played a key role in revamping the Buccaneers' passing game. Part of the team's success passing the ball came from targeting top wide receiver Mike Evans, who caught 74 passes for 1,206 yards. His 1,206 yards are the seventh-most in a single season in team history and stood as the 11th-most in the league last season. Another player who was pivotal in the team's passing attack, Charles Sims' 561 receiving yards were the fourth-most by a running back in the NFL in 2015, while his four receiving touchdowns set a franchise record and tied for the second-most in the league by a running back.
Koetter joined the Buccaneers after three seasons working as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons (2012-14). During his three seasons with Atlanta, the team cumulatively ranked second in the NFL in completion percentage (67.4), third in third-down conversion percentage (44.1), fourth in passing yards (277.2 per game), ninth in passing touchdowns (86), ninth in passer rating (93.9), 10th in points (24.0 per game) and 10th in total yardage (363.5 per game), while posting the second-fewest penalties (243) and penalty yards (2,043), seventh-fewest turnovers (69) and the ninth-lowest interception percentage (2.4) in the league. Koetter was part of the Falcons staff that went 13-3 in 2012 and played in the NFC Championship Game.
Under Koetter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan posted the three highest passing yardage seasons in franchise history, as well as three of the four highest completion percentage seasons. In 2012, Ryan set franchise records and personal bests in passing yards (4,719), completion percentage (68.6) and passing touchdowns (32), while recording the second-highest passer rating mark in Falcons history (99.1). Atlanta wide receivers also flourished under Koetter, with Julio Jones setting a franchise record and ranking third in the NFL in receiving yards in 2014 with 1,593 yards. In those three seasons, the Falcons had a different player lead the team in receiving yards each season (Roddy White, 2012; Harry Douglas, 2013; Jones, 2014).
While Koetter was in charge of the Falcons' offense, he coached three players to Pro Bowl appearances (Julio Jones, 2012, 2014; Tony Gonzalez, 2012-13; Matt Ryan, 2012), with Gonzalez earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2012. In his first season with Koetter in 2012, Gonzalez set a franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end, recording 93 catches for 930 yards – the most he had recorded in either category since 2008. That same season, Jones and White combined for 2,549 receiving yards, the most by a duo in the NFL.
Prior to joining the Falcons, Koetter spent five seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-11). In his five years with the Jaguars, the team cumulatively ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards (132.0 per game) and sixth in rushing average (4.41). Koetter's Jacksonville offenses also showed a penchant for taking care of the football, tallying the seventh-fewest turnovers in the league during that time.
Koetter had immediate success in Jacksonville, with his 2007 team setting franchise records in points (25.7 per game, sixth in the NFL) and total offense (357 yards per game, seventh in the NFL). In his first season as the starter, quarterback David Garrard ranked third in the NFL and set a franchise record in passer rating (102.2), throwing a league-low three interceptions, while leading the team to a Wild Card playoff berth and a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2008, Garrard threw for a career-best 3,620 yards and in 2010 he tossed 23 touchdowns, a career high and a franchise record.
While with the Jaguars, Koetter coached four different players to six Pro Bowl selections, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who earned three trips to the Pro Bowl and led the NFL in rushing in 2010 en route to earning an All-Pro selection. Koetter also helped tight end Marcedes Lewis earn a Pro Bowl berth following the 2010 season, when Lewis caught 10 touchdown passes, then tied for the most in a season in Jaguars history.
Before joining the Jaguars, Koetter spent 22 years at the collegiate level, the final six as the head coach at Arizona State (2001-06). In his six seasons with the Sun Devils, Koetter led the team to four bowl games, posting a 40-34 record. Working as both the head coach and offensive coordinator, he helped Arizona State average nearly 30 points per game over six seasons, while ranking in the top 20 in the nation in passing offense in five of his six years. In addition, five of the six Sun Devil teams during Koetter's tenure produced a 1,000-yard receiver and quarterbacks that threw for 20 or more touchdowns in five of six seasons.
Koetter's first head coaching opportunity came at Boise State, where he spent three seasons (1998-2000), finishing with a 26-10 record and two consecutive bowl wins. He was a two-time Big West Coach of the Year and two-time conference champion.
A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Koetter played collegiately at Idaho State (1978-81), helping lead his team to a Division I-AA national championship as a senior. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education and earned a master's in athletic administration a year later. After getting his master's, he became the head coach at Highland (Idaho) High School, where he worked from 1983-84, going 19-4 and winning the 1984 state championship.
In 1985, Koetter worked as the offensive coordinator at San Francisco State and from 1986-88 was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Texas El-Paso. He then served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Missouri from 1989-93 and offensive coordinator at Boston College (1994-95) and Oregon (1996-97).
Koetter, 56, and his wife, Kim, have two daughters, Kaylee and Kendra, and two sons, Derek and Davis.