"It has been a privilege to work with not only Tony Dungy the coach, but Tony Dungy the man," said Buccaneers Owner Malcolm Glazer. "This has been a most difficult decision; Tony has done great things for our football team and our community. I know I speak for the whole Tampa Bay community and all Buccaneer fans in wishing Tony and his family the best."
Now that Dungy has walked the Buccaneers' plank, the vacancy that now exists at the head coaching position is expected to be filled by two-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells within a week. Parcells is attempting to assemble his coaching staff, and is waiting to contact coaches that are still participating in the playoffs. There is a chance Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and some of his defensive staff members will be retained by Parcells.
Parcells is also believed to be trying to get a contract that is similar to the the one Steve Spurrier recently received from the Washington Redskins. Spurrier received a reported five-year, $25 million contract.
Dungy, who was hired by Tampa Bay's owner Malcolm Glazer in 1996, owns a franchise-best 54-43 overall record. Dungy and Co. won the NFC Central Division championship and had taken the Buccaneers as far as the NFC Championship Game in 1999, but fell short of making the Super Bowl when Tampa Bay was downed by St. Louis, 11-6. Dungy led Tampa Bay to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and four times out of the six seasons he coached the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers also had 41 Pro Bowl selections under Dungy.
Tony Dungy's Year-By-Year Regular Season Results:
1997 10-6 (Reached the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Green Bay).
1999 11-5 (Reached the NFC Championship Game before being eliminated by St. Louis).
2000 10-6 (Eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia).
2001 9-7 (Eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia.).
Dungy's Post-Season Record
Although Dungy turned one of the NFL's worst franchises into one of the league's elite, his success with the Buccaneers was still seen as an underachievement in the eyes of many, including Tampa Bay's ownership. Dungy's only losing season came in his first year as Tampa Bay's head coach (6-10), but as the Glazers spent millions on free agents like WR Keyshawn Johnson and QB Brad Johnson, the return on the ownership's investment was deemed unacceptable.
Dungy's ultimate downfall might have been his inability to get consistent production from his team during his six seasons in Tampa Bay, especially his offenses. While Dungy's defenses have been among the league's best, his offenses have been dreadful.
Dungy attempted to improve his team's offensive production by using three offensive coordinators and three starting quarterbacks in the last three seasons, but his philosophy never appeared to change, and his inability or refusal to take a different offensive approach inevitably cost him his job.
Dungy's teams had also gotten off to extremely slow starts in the last four seasons. In each of Tampa Bay's last four seasons, the Buccaneers have started the regular season off with a 3-4 record. The team put together a 13-2 home record in December in six seasons under Dungy, but their late-season rallies weren't enough to make up for the damage caused by the slow starts in terms of playoff positioning.
While Dungy is now out of a job, he isn't expected to be unemployed for long. Indianapolis, Carolina and San Diego have expressed interest in hiring Dungy to fill their head coaching vacancies.
Dungy will address the media at One Buccaneer Place for the final time on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.. Check back with BucMag.com for Dungy's reaction to his firing and all of the latest developments on Tampa Bay's pursuit of Bill Parcells.
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