Buccaneers fire coach Dirk Koetter; Jets part with Bowles

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Dirk Koetter has been fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team made the announcement Sunday night, Dec. 30, 2018 a little more than three hours after the Bucs concluded a disappointing season with a 34-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) Bill Kostroun

Associated Press
Published: 12/30/2018 9:00:07 PM

TAMPA, Fla. – Dirk Koetter seemed resigned to his fate.

The coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was fired Sunday night a little more than three hours after the Bucs concluded a disappointing season with a 34-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to his first NFL head coaching position when Tampa Bay fired Lovie Smith in January 2016. He led the Bucs to a 9-7 record that year, but followed up with consecutive 5-11 finishes.

His successor will be the sixth coach will be the fifth coach the team has had since firing Jon Gruden after the 2008 season. The Bucs have missed the playoffs 11 straight seasons and haven’t won a playoff game since their Super bowl run under Gruden in 2002.

“I’d love to finish out my contract, of course I would,” Koetter said during his postgame news conference.

“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, and that’s just the way this business works,” he added. “If this is the last one for me, I appreciate the opportunity they gave me. It’s awesome to be a head football coach in the NFL. Coaching in the NFL period is awesome. It’s the best of the best.”

The Bucs started 2-0 this year, and then lost 11 of 14 down the stretch, including four straight games to finish the season.

Koetter, who had a 19-29 record, was dismissed after meeting with team ownership after the news conference.

“We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by Dirk over the past several years,” Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement.

Glazer said general manager Jason Licht would begin the search for a new coach immediately.

Jets part ways with coach Todd Bowles

The New York Jets fired coach Todd Bowles Sunday night after four seasons, ending a disappointing tenure that began with plenty of promise but finished with lots of losses and no playoff appearances.

The team announced the long-expected decision that it moved on from Bowles, who went 24-40, a few hours after the Jets wrapped up their season with a 38-3 loss at New England.

There was some uncertainty surrounding general manager Mike Maccagnan’s job status, but it appears he will remain in his role and help lead the Jets’ search for a new coach.

Bowles, 54, was hired in January 2015 after New York fired Rex Ryan. The Jets got off to a solid start under Bowles, who guided them to a 10-6 record. But they fell a win shy of the playoffs in his first season after losing a win-and-in game against Ryan’s Bills. Still, many expected the Jets to take the next step under Bowles.

It never happened.

New York went 4-12 this year after going 5-11 in each of the last two seasons, and Bowles’ in-game management became a focus of heavy criticism. The stoic coach also never endeared himself to frustrated fans who often mistook Bowles’ lack of public emotion for an absence of passion.

(Associated Press reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. contributed to this report)




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