PALM BEACH, Fla. - Bruce Arians, the colorful head coach who led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory two seasons ago, is at age 69 retiring from coaching, with the plan to elevate Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles - who has a long list of credentials, including a time as a Dallas Cowboys assistant - in his place.
Arians told his coaching staff and his players of his decision on Wednesday evening, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times and NBC’s Peter King.
Bowles is expected to be named head coach immediately.
“Succession’s always been huge for me,” Arians said in his media visits, adding the organization “is probably in the best shape in its history.”
Bowles, 58, has served as Arians' defensive coordinator in both Arizona and Tampa Bay and is also a former head coach of the New York Jets. He was on the Cowboys staff in 2005 until 2007, working as the secondary coach mostly under head coach Bill Parcells, and during his playing career, the undrafted defensive back performed for the Washington football team over the course of two stints, from 1986 to 1990, and after a time with the San Francisco 49ers, back in Washington in 1992 and 1993.
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The Times and King report that the Buccaneers got clearance on the move to make certain they were following appropriate Rooney Rule guidelines.
Bowles' hire in Tampa would bring the NFL’s total of minority head coaches to six.
Arias will work in the Bucs front office as a "senior consultant for football.''
“(I don’t need to) win another 15 games for me to be happy,” Arians said. “I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some (bad) job. I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it in February because (if Tom) Brady gets hurt and we go 10-7, it’s an open interview for the job.”