Bucs hire Rutgers’ Greg Schiano as new coach

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TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - The Buccaneers are counting on Greg Schiano to lead them back to respectability and transform Tampa Bay into consistent winners _ much in the same way he made Rutgers matter again.

The 45-year-old former Scarlet Knights coach was hired Thursday, more than three weeks after the Bucs fired Raheem Morris following a 4-12 finish.

The team scheduled a press conference for Friday to introduce Schiano, who inherits a team that allowed the most points in the NFL this season.

“Coach Schiano is a bright, meticulous teacher who knows how to get the most out of his players,” general manager Mark Dominik said. “He built and ran a pro-style program at Rutgers, and he’s a defensive-minded coach whose teams have always been characterized by toughness and a physical style of play.”

Schiano was at Rutgers for 11 seasons, taking them from college football laughingstocks to a program that has had winning records in six of the last seven years. He was an assistant coach in the NFL with Chicago from 1996-98.

The Scarlet Knights appointed offensive line coach Kyle Flood as interim head coach while the school searches for Schiano’s replacement.

The Bucs fired Morris on Jan. 2 after Tampa Bay lost 10 straight to end the season, most of them by double-digit margins. The collapse following a promising 4-2 start came only a year after the NFL’s youngest team went 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

The Glazer family that owns the team interviewed at least 10 candidates for the opening, including Oregon’s Chip Kelly, who was offered the position before turning it down earlier this week.

The Bucs also talked to former NFL head coaches Mike Sherman, Brad Childress and Marty Schottenheimer; Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski; Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray; Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer; Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who accepted the head coaching opening with the Miami Dolphins.

An 11th known candidate, ex-Dallas Cowboys coach and current Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, canceled a scheduled interview with the Bucs that would have taken place while the Texans were in the playoffs.

Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said the club was thrilled to entrust the team’s rebuilding project to Schiano.

“During our thorough search, we met with numerous impressive candidates, but coach Schiano surely distinguished himself,” Glazer said. “From his leadership skills to his considerable track record, he is, simply put, the right man for the job.”

It’s not the first exhaustive search the Glazers have conducted for a coach.

The Bucs pursued Steve Spurrier before hiring Tony Dungy in 1996, then tried to lure Bill Parcells and Steve Mariucci to Tampa Bay before trading two first-round draft picks, as well as a pair of second-rounders and $8 million cash to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for the opportunity to negotiate a contract with Jon Gruden after the 2001 season.

Gruden led the Bucs to their only Super Bowl title the following season, but Tampa Bay hasn’t won a playoff game since. The Glazers fired him three weeks after the Bucs lost the final four games of 2008 to miss the playoffs, and promoted Morris as his successor.

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