Smith led the Bucs to a 6–10 finish in his second year as head coach.
“After careful consideration, we informed Lovie that we have decided to make a change,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “I want to thank Lovie for his hard work and dedication to the Buccaneers during his time here. This decision was difficult on a variety of levels. I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve. As we move forward, General Manager Jason Licht will oversee the process for finding our next head coach.”
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Buccaneers called Smith at home to tell him he had been fired.
The Bucs showed flashes of improvement this season after finishing 2–14 in 2014, with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston displaying promise. Despite its advances in the win column, the team finished last in the NFL South for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
Smith coached the Chicago Bears from 2004–2012, and has a career record of 89–87 as head coach. He succeeded Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay in 2014.
Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David tweeted his frustration Wednesday night following the news. Smith’s firing means the Bucs will hire their third head coach in five seasons.
ESPN’s Mark Dominik, the general manager of the Buccaneers from 2009–13, tweeted Wednesday that he expected the team to promote offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the head coaching role.
With Lovie Smith fired I would expect Dirk Koetter to be named head coach within the week. They still will interview a few other candidates.— Mark Dominik (@MarkdominikESPN) January 7, 2016
- Jeremy Woo