In addition to hiring seven new coaches, the Bucs have also promoted Running Backs Coach Art Valero to assistant head coach
It was 10 years ago, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't soon forget the last time they turned to the University of Southern California to find a defensive line coach.
Hopefully, they'll find the experience similarly rewarding this time around, in the person of new defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. Actually, given their success in plumbing the college ranks for top-notch coaches, the Bucs are likely to be satisfied with all of their new coaches in 2006…and there are plenty of them.
On Thursday, the Bucs announced the hiring of seven new assistant coaches, including two who have left the USC staff to jump to the NFL. Ten years after hiring Rod Marinelli to coach their D-Line and shortly after Marinelli left to become the Detroit Lions new head coach, the Buccaneers have filled that position with the Trojans' Franklin. The team's new defensive backs coach, Greg Burns, is also fresh off that USC staff; he replaces Mike Tomlin, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.
After seeing their coaching staff raided by four other organizations, the Bucs also filled six additional openings, including one from within. Jimmy Lake is the new assistant defensive backs coach, replacing Raheem Morris, who took the defensive coordinator position at Kansas State. Tim Berbenich and Nathaniel Hackett are the new offensive quality control coaches, replacing Kyle Shanahan, who joined Gary Kubiak's new staff in Houston, and Chris Wiesehan. And Casey Bradley is the new defensive quality control coach, filling the vacancy left when Joe Woods followed Tomlin to Minnesota.
The Bucs also promoted Mike Morris to head strength and conditioning coach after declining to bring back Garrett Giemont, and hired Kurt Shultz to replace Morris as assistant strength and conditioning coach.
That's not all. The Buccaneers promoted Rich Bisaccia, formerly the special teams coach, to special teams coordinator, and added the title of assistant head coach to Running Backs Coach Art Valero. Marinelli had previously served as the assistant head coach. Aaron Kromer, who joined the Bucs' staff as a senior assistant last year, will now carry the title senior assistant/offensive line, reflecting his ongoing work with that position alongside Bill Muir. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see the Bucs' entire updated coaching staff for 2006 at the bottom of this page.
Berbenich comes to the Buccaneers from the New York Jets, where he was a quality control coach last season and an offensive assistant in 2003-04. Shultz spent the last two seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Vikings. Lake, Hackett and Bradley, though, are three more NFL first-timers making the jump from the NCAA. Lake has coached at Eastern Washington, Washington and, most recently, Montana State. Hackett, the son of Buccaneers Quarterbacks Coach Paul Hackett, was on Stanford's staff the last three years, serving as a specialists coach and recruiting coordinator in 2005. Bradley spent the last decade at North Dakota State, holding the defensive coordinator position for seven of those 10 years.
Dipping into the college ranks to create or flesh out a coaching staff is nothing new for the Buccaneers. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin's recent staff of Marinelli, Tomlin, Morris, Woods and Linebackers Coach Joe Barry (who remains with the team) all came to Tampa directly from college locations, with no previous NFL stops. Marinelli, as mentioned, launched his outstanding pro career from USC and Lovie Smith, the linebackers coach before Barry and now the head coach of the Chicago Bears, was plucked off Ohio State's staff in 1996.
If the Bucs were to turn to the NCAA again in 2006, it's hard to imagine a better source for coaching talent than USC, which has been the closest thing to a dynasty college football has seen in some time. The Trojans won 34 consecutive games from 2003-05, taking the BCS National Championship in 2004. USC was not chosen for the BCS championship game in 2003 but won the media's vote for the national title, and they lost a thrilling, last-second decision to Texas this past January to just miss a second consecutive BCS crown.
Franklin doesn't completely fit the mold of some of the Bucs' previous coaching hires in that he does possess extensive NFL experience. Before joining USC's staff in January of 2005, he was the Green Bay Packers' defensive line coach from 2000-04. Prior to that, he had built his coaching resume at two Western schools, UCLA in 1999 and his alma mater, Fresno State, from 1991-98. He even helped lead FSU to a Freedom Bowl upset of his future employers when the Bulldogs beat the Trojans in 1992. During those eight years at Fresno State, Franklin got a taste of the NFL through summer coaching fellowships with Cleveland and Buffalo in 1994 and '95, respectively.
As a player, Franklin twice won second-team All America honors with the Bulldogs. In 1996, he set a then-school record with 19.5 sacks. He was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 11th round in 1988 but played his one NFL season with Seattle in 1989. The San Antonio Rough Riders of the World League of American Football drafted Franklin in the first round in 1991 but he chose to get started on his coaching career instead.
Burns is making his first foray into the NFL after nine seasons on the college level. That college career began at Idaho in 1997, where he coached the cornerbacks, then continued at Louisville from 1998-2001, tutoring the same position. Burns helped the Cardinals defense lead the nation with 27 interceptions in 2000 then post another 20 picks in 2001. He then joined the USC staff in 2002, just in time to coach safety Troy Polamalu in his senior season.
Polamalu, now a star safety for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, was a Thorpe Award finalist as a senior. During his four seasons with the Trojans, Burns also helped develop cornerback Will Poole, now a Miami Dolphin, and safety Darnell Bing, a first-team All American last year.
Like Franklin, Burns was a standout player on the college level before heading into coaching. He earned four letters at Washington State, including his last one in 1995 after coming back from a major knee injury that cost him the 1994 season. He had nine career interceptions for the Cougars, including five as a sophomore.
Lake will assist Burns in tutoring the defensive backs. He spent last season as the secondary coach at Montana State, helping the Bobcats lead the Big Sky Conference in total defense and pass defense. In 2004, Lake was in charge of cornerbacks and nickel backs at the University of Washington, where the Huskies also led their conference in pass defense. A former safety at Eastern Washington, Lake started his coaching career at his alma mater, as a graduate assistant in 1999 and the secondary coach for the four subsequent seasons.
Bisaccia, who has spent the last four seasons (2002-05) as special teams coach, has presided over the top two single-season gross punting performances in team history: Pro Bowler Josh Bidwell (45.6 yards per punt) in 2005 and Tom Tupa (43.3 yards per punt) in 2003. In addition, he also coached two of the most accurate kickers in team history: Matt Bryant (.840 FG Pct.) in 2005 and Martin Gramatica (.821 FG Pct.) in 2002.
Valero has been an invaluable member of the Bucs' offensive staff since his arrival in 2002. After two seasons as the tight ends coach, he took over the backs in 2004 and has helped that unit to two strong seasons. In 2004, running back Michael Pittman ran for 926 yards despite missing the first three games of the year, averaging 4.2 yards per tote. Last season, Valero tutored the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, running back Cadillac Williams, who broke the team's rookie rushing record with 1,178 yards.
Berbenich spent three seasons (2003-05) as a member of the Jets coaching staff, including one season as a quality control coach in 2005. He served as an offensive assistant coach during his first two seasons (2003-04). Berbenich originally joined the Jets as an operations assistant for the 2002 season after interning in the operations department during training camps from 2000-01. From 1998-01, he played wide receiver for Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.
Hackett, the son of current Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett, spent last season as specialists coach/recruiting coordinator at Stanford. Hackett spent two seasons (2003-04) as assistant to the offensive and defensive coordinators at Stanford after lettering for four seasons (1999-02) as a linebacker long snapper at University of California-Davis.
During his ten-year coaching stint (1996-05) at his alma mater, Bradley was NDSU's defensive coordinator for seven seasons (1997-02, 2005). As a player, he was a four-time Academic All-North Central Conference selection at NDSU from 1984-88, seeing action at free safety and punter. He was also a graduate assistant for North Dakota State from 1990-91.
Morris spent his first four seasons (2002-05) with the Buccaneers as assistant strength and conditioning coach. He also spent three seasons with the New England Patriots as speed coach (1997-98) and assistant strength and conditioning coach (1999).
Shultz spent the last two seasons (2004-05) as the strength and conditioning coach with the Vikings, helping the team to back-to-back winning seasons and a playoff berth in 2004. Shultz also spent one season as the assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003. Before joining the Bengals, Shultz spent four seasons with the University of Maryland basketball team, helping the Terrapins reach four consecutive NCAA tournaments, including an NCAA title in 2001-02. Shultz also spent four seasons at Loyola College (Maryland) to begin his coaching career. During his collegiate seasons, he spent time working as a personal trainer at Padonia Fitness Center. In addition, he served as a consultant and kick-boxing instructor for the Baltimore Ravens, where he trained an elite list of professional athletes, including former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis and former Baltimore Orioles Jerry Hairston and Gary Matthews, Jr.
2006 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coaching Staff
- Jon Gruden, Head Coach * Monte Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator * Bill Muir, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line * Richard Bisaccia, Special Teams Coordinator * Art Valero, Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs * Joe Barry, Linebackers * Tim Berbenich, Offensive Quality Control * Casey Bradley, Defensive Quality Control * Greg Burns, Defensive Backs * Jethro Franklin, Defensive Line * Jay Gruden, Offensive Assistant * Paul Hackett, Quarterbacks * Nathaniel Hackett, Offensive Quality Control * Paul Kelly, Assistant to the Head Coach/Football Operations * Aaron Kromer, Senior Assistant/Offensive Line * Jimmy Lake, Assistant Defensive Backs * Richard Mann, Wide Receivers * Rod Middleton, Tight Ends/Assistant Special Teams * Mike Morris, Head Strength and Conditioning * Kurt Shultz, Assistant Strength and Conditioning