A season that started full of promise for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has become head coach Dirk Koetter’s last with the team.
The Buccaneers fired Koetter after the team failed to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed. The team later made the news official.
“We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by Dirk over the past several years,” Buccaneers owner Joel Glazer said in a statement. “Working with Dirk has been a pleasure and we wish him and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be conducted by General Manager Jason Licht.”
Koetter, who served as the Buccaneers‘ offensive coordinator prior to the team’s firing of Lovie Smith after the 2015 season, was promoted, in part, to help with the development of quarterback Jameis Winston.
After back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons in 2015 and 2016, Winston once again endured struggles in his game, temporarily losing his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick after being suspended four games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Winston’s shaky on-field results for a second straight season in combination with the Bucs failing to make the most out of their offseason defensive acquisitions, kept Tampa Bay mired in the NFC South doldrums.
Tampa’s issues with their revamped defense also led to the team dismissing defensive coordinator Mike Smith in October.
Koetter leaves Tampa with a 19-29 career record in the wake of a 5-11 campaign for the Buccaneers. Last year, he went 5-11 with the team but managed to keep his position.