Report: Bucs Wanted Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden Before Hiring Lovie Smith

By: Justin Pawlowski - on twitter: @Commishonline
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(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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The Bucs have been known to go after some big names during head coaching searches for the team.

Bill Parcells has turned them down twice.

Chip Kelly has turned them down once.

It took four draft picks and $8 million to secure the rights to Jon Gruden in 2002.

After failed experiments with Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano as their head coach, it appeared the Glazers were geared up to go big with their next hire.

On New Year’s Day, I received a text message from a “source” friend that said, “Bucs going after HUGE name.” I figured that there were only two “huge” names in the coaching circles; Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Bucs ownership heavily pursued former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher to take over and run their team before settling on Lovie Smith.

“Tampa Bay ownership pursued a reunion with former Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden, according to league sources, making a run at him prior to their eventual hiring of former Bears coach Lovie Smith. Furthermore, according to league sources, the Bucs sent word to former Steelers coach Bill Cowher about their interest in him back in November, but were quickly informed Cowher was more than happy working as an analyst for CBS.”

I find it interesting that the report says the Bucs contacted Bill Cowher as far back as November, telling me that they had made up their minds on both Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik at that point.

The report also says that the Buccaneers will approach Tony Dungy about a job within their front office once Dungy’s son graduates from Oregon.

The smartest move the Glazers made was quickly moving on and securing Lovie Smith as their head coach. By doing this, Lovie Smith can assemble a great coaching staff underneath him.

La Canfora’s report also says that the Glazers might be making moves to help their ticket sales.

“Gruden, like Dungy, still lives in the central Florida area and the allure of bringing either back would hold substantial weight with their fanbase and likely help with ticket sales.”

With the Glazers being so aggressive in their coaching search for “HUGE names” in hopes of improving ticket sales, I do have to wonder if they’ll be equally aggressive in upgrading their quarterback position as well. While Glennon is a nice quarterback with some decent skills, exciting names like Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel in the NFL draft might get ticket sales on the rise as well.

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