The Quest for Coordinators


Five days after hiring Greg Schiano the Buccaneers have turned their focus to securing coordinators for the rookie head coach. And while no hires have been made, a pattern is emerging with regard to the names being mentioned.

Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik both have discussed the fact that Schiano has had other opportunities to coach in the NFL but was waiting for the right situation.  Schiano mentioned it in his introductory press conference, while Dominik discussed that with the Tampa Bay Times the other day.

"“When we were interviewing him, I know that he was interviewing us, too,” Dominik said. “You could tell by the questions that he would ask back that were very specific, intelligent questions. He doesn’t just want to be in the NFL. He wants to find the right job.”"

Schiano clearly wants to ensure every aspect of a head coaching position is handled and puts him in the position to be successful. He said in the press conference he hopes the Bucs job is the last he ever takes. And so far the two names mentioned as his potential choices for coordinators are men he’s close to, and trusts.

A lot of times you’ll see a head coach come in and get paired up with talented coordinators that the organization and GM think will help him succeed. I thought that would be the case when it was announced after Schiano’s hiring that Mark Dominik would retain final say on all coaching hires. It’s not always bad, but the coach doesn’t always know the coordinators well and they may or may not mesh. That can cause all kinds of issues.

But based on the things people around the Bucs have said, it now seems pretty clear one of Schiano’s terms was that he got to pick coaches he knew and had worked with in the past.

When Schiano was hired, one of the first candidates I thought about for defensive coordinator was Dave Wannstedt. Wanny ended up in Buffalo long before Schiano was the pick in Tampa, but the two had worked together in Chicago and I figured Wannstedt’s NFL experience would be good for Schiano to draw from.

That seems to have been the thinking with Butch Davis, who Peter King reported was on top of Schiano’s wish-list of defensive coordinators. Davis and Schiano worked together in 1999 and 2000 at the University of Miami. They maintain a close friendship and Davis has a solid NFL pedigree including a head coaching stint in Cleveland.

As of this morning there is no word on whether Davis has been approached or if he’s even interested. But if he is, that would be an excellent hire and it would allow the Bucs to begin hiring assistants and assessing personnel more closely.

Offensively the Bucs are reportedly trying to work out a deal for Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator John McNulty, who coached under Schiano for five years at Rutgers. The Cardinals blocked the move initially but as the Times is reporting, the Bucs are attempting everything to get permission to hire him away.

McNulty ran a very successful offense at Rutgers under Schiano and helped develop a number of good pros. While he was there the offenses shattered school records, and the team won three consecutive bowl games (which was unheard of up there). McNulty is a rising star in coaching. He hasn’t exactly had a ton of success developing quarterbacks though so the hire would need to be complimented by a solid QB coach. But once again, this is a coach Schiano knows well and trusts inherently. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to take any chances.

Hopefully over the next few days the staff materializes and Tampa can begin to move forward to the next phase of rebuilding to organization. They do need to start getting a move on so that coordinators can evaluate and give input leading up to the draft and free agency. There’s less time than you think before things get rolling for 2012.

But it’s hard to begrudge Schiano for wanting to get things right.