Bucs Hiring of Greg Schiano Was Likely Doomed from the Start

By: Jim Lighthall

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in complete disarray. Everyone knows that. But I don’t know if I completely blame just Greg Schiano anymore. Sure, the offense is terrible and the defense plays too much zone. The staff might be of college-caliber quality and the off-the-field soap opera writes a new chapter every day. But Schiano is only doing what Schiano has done since he took over at Rutgers in 2001. The bullying. The micro-managing. The toes on the line. That’s all part of the package when you hire Greg Schiano. And history tells us that NFL teams hiring a college coach rarely works.

For whatever reason, the Buccaneers organization struggles to land its first choice during the head coach hiring process. And this time was no exception. Current Eagles head coach Chip Kelly turned down the job at the 11th hour. Mike Sherman interviewed twice. The Bucs also reportedly talked to Brad Childress, Marty Schottenheimer, Rob Chudzinski, Jerry Gray, Mike Zimmer, Tom Clements and Wade Phillips. But they ultimately settled on a college coach from Rutgers.

Looking back over the last 20 years, college coaches have had their share of NFL opportunities. And few have succeeded. For every Barry Switzer (40-24 with the Cowboys) there’s Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Mike Riley and Bobby Petrino (44-81 combined). For every Jim Harbaugh (27-9-1 with the 49ers) there’s Butch Davis, Dick MacPherson, Rich Brooks and Greg Schiano (52-92 combined).

Schiano was never considered elite at Rutgers as his 68-67 record would indicate. But after four years to build up what was the nation’s worst 1-A program, Schiano’s record was a much more respectable 56-33 which included five bowl wins. In a below-average Big East Conference, those numbers were still mediocre at best. When elite coaches have a higher fail-rate than success-rate in the NFL, then you can imagine what happens to the mediocre ones.

The Bucs will have a new head coach in 2014 and you can bet that the Glazers won’t make this same mistake again.

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