Bucs team officials met near Washington, D.C., with University of Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen, the 2001 national coach of the year.
Friedgen, 54, led the Terrapins to a 10-2 record in his first season with the team. Friedgen is an offensive-minded coach, which fits the description of what Tampa Bay's owners are looking for in their new head coach since they have not ranked higher than 20th in that category since 1992.
A 33-year coaching veteran, Friedgen is regarded as one of the country's most ingenious offensive minds and has prior NFL experience as a coordinator. Maryland finished the 2001 season ranked No. 10 in the country, the school's best position since 1984, and the Terps played in the Orange Bowl.
Tampa Bay is also expected to revisit earlier candidates while expanding the search, which will include several college coaches.
Although Bill Parcells has already told the Buccaneers he is retired, the Glazers could extend another offer to him since he did not get accepted into the Hall of Fame. Tampa Bay's owners could also reopen negotiations with Oakland owner Al Davis and attempt to agree on some sort of compensation package that would send Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay. Miami offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey may also be reconsidered for the job.
As far as the college ranks are concerned, Oregon's Mike Bellotti, Washington's Rick Neuheisel and Hawaii's June Jones are three coaches who may receive serious consideration by the Buccaneers since they have impressive offensive backgrounds.
Before returning to his alma mater for his first head coaching job in 2001, Friedgen actually played the offensive guard position for the Terps as a senior in 1968. While Friedgen had stops at The Citadel (1973-79) and William and Mary (1980, 1994-96), his most notable coaching experience was with Georgia Tech (1987-91, 1997-2000), where he worked under Bobby Ross and helped the team win a national championship in 1990. He worked with Ross again from 1993-96 with the San Diego Chargers. His tenure with San Diego included the team's only Super Bowl berth.
After coaching with the Chargers and his most recent stint at Georgia Tech, Friedgen has earned a reputation as an offensive guru. Between 1998-2000, his Yellow Jackets offense averaged 36.7 points and 444 yards per game.
Some reports have surfaced suggesting McKay and the Glazers may meet by Wednesday in order to attempt to appease any differences between the two sides. Last Friday, McKay was set to hire Baltimore (now Washington) defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, but after interviewing Lewis for five hours, the Glazers underminded McKay and ordered him to eliminate Lewis from consideration.
Tampa Bay has been without a head coach since the team fired Tony Dungy on Jan. 14. One of ESPN's sources informed them that the coaching search could take as long as two weeks, but the team would have a new coach in place by the time free agency starts on Mar. 1.
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