TAMPA – When he came to Chicago to be an NFL head coach for the first time, his tenure was one of the longest in Bears history.
The second stay for Lovie Smith wasn’t nearly as long.
After just two seasons as the head coach for the Buccaneers, the former Bears coach was abruptly fired late Wednesday night. The news was released by the team around 10:30 PM Eastern Time.
“After careful consideration, we informed Lovie that we have decided to make a change. I want to thank Lovie for his hard work and dedication to the Buccaneers during his time here,” said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer in a release posted on the team’s website. “This decision was difficult on a variety of levels. I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve.
“As we move forward, General Manager Jason Licht will oversee the process for finding our next head coach.”
Smith went to Tampa after taking a year off of coaching after being fired by the Bears after the 2012 season. Hired in 2014 he took over a rebuilding team and won just two of 16 games in his first season. With No. 1 pick Jameis Winston at quarterback, the Buccaneers record improved to 6-10 but they lost five of their last six games to fall out of playoff contention.
Returning to Tampa Bay was a bit of a homecoming for Smith who got his first NFL coaching job with the team in 1996 working with the linebackers. After four seasons under Tony Dungy, Smith went to work as the defensive coordinator for the Rams from 2001-2003 before becoming the Bears head coach in 2004.
During his time in Chicago the coach had a number of highs and lows. In three of Smith’s nine seasons the Bears made the playoffs, reaching Super Bowl XLI in the 2006 season and the NFC Championship game in the 2010 campaign. But a pair of disappointing seasons following the last playoff appearance led to his dismissal after the 2012 season and like his last campaign with the Bucs the team faltered down the stretch, losing five of their last eight games.
Source: WGN TV