Buccaneers Name Bruce Arians Head Coach

Bruce Arians watches pregame warmups against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that Bruce Arians has been named the 12th head coach in franchise history.

Arians is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, earning the award in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts) and in 2014 (Arizona Cardinals). He is the only coach in NFL history to earn the award multiple times in a three-year span with different teams and is one of only 12 coaches in NFL history to win the award multiple times.

“Bruce Arians is one of the NFL’s most well-respected coaches over the past two decades and we are excited to have him leading our team. Throughout this process, we focused on finding the right coach with a proven ability to elevate our players and lead our team forward. Bruce has played a large role in the development and career success of some of our league’s best players and we look forward to seeing him continue that work here with our franchise,” said Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer.

Prior to arriving in Tampa, Arians spent five seasons as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) in addition to a 12-game stint as interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2012), compiling a regular season record of 58-33-1. During that 92-game stretch Arians was a head coach, his 58 wins ranked fourth in the NFL, trailing only Bill Belichick (73), Pete Carroll (63) and Mike Tomlin (59).

Throughout his 25-year NFL career, Arians has worked closely with some of the league’s top passers including Pro Bowlers Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer. As an offensive play-caller, Arians has directed top-10 offenses with three different teams (Arizona, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh) over the last nine seasons of his coaching career.

During his time in Arizona, the York, Pennsylvania native compiled a 49-30-1 regular season record (.619 winning percentage). The Cardinals’ 49 wins during that span were the seventh-most in the NFL and the third-most in the NFC. Arians won 50 total games in Arizona (49 regular season, one postseason), finishing his time there as the winningest coach in franchise history. His 49 regular season wins are also the most by any coach in Cardinals history.

Arians posted three seasons with double-digit wins as the head coach of the Cardinals, including tying the then-franchise best with 11 in 2014. The following season, Arizona established a new franchise record with 13 wins, which also featured the team’s first-ever postseason bye and second-ever appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Under Arians, the Cardinals offense set several single-season team records, including points scored (489 in 2015), total touchdowns (59 in 2015), total net yards (6,533 in 2015) and first downs (373 in 2015). Arians also helped coach individual players to some of the best seasons of their careers. In 2015, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer set franchise records for passing yards (4,671), passing touchdowns (35), yards per attempt (8.70) and passer rating (104.6) en route to a Pro Bowl selection. In 2016, running back David Johnson established new team records for rushing touchdowns (16), total touchdowns (20) and yards from scrimmage (2,118), while leading the NFL in total touchdowns and yards from scrimmage. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald posted the top three seasons for receptions in Cardinals history under Arians and ranked third in the NFL in catches during that span.

Arians came to Arizona after spending the 2012 season with Indianapolis. Hired as the team’s offensive coordinator, he also served as the team’s interim coach for 12 games while head coach Chuck Pagano was treated for leukemia. He led the Colts to a 9-3 record and was selected as the 2012 AP NFL Coach of the Year. Indianapolis’ nine-win improvement (2-14 to 11-5) matched the third-largest single-season turnaround in NFL history.

Arians helped the Colts’ offense rank 10th in the NFL in yards (362.4 ypg) and seventh in passing yards (258.0 ypg). Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck – the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft – made the Pro Bowl and set rookie records for passing yards (4,374) and 300-yard passing games (six). He also established the NFL single-game rookie record for passing yards (433, 11/4 vs. Miami). Luck finished with the then-third-most passing touchdowns by a rookie in NFL history, with 23.

Prior to his time with the Colts, Arians spent eight seasons with the Steelers, five as offensive coordinator (2007-11) and three as the wide receivers coach (2004-06). During his tenure as the offensive coordinator, the Steelers had a 55-25 record, tying Green Bay for the second-best mark in the NFL during that span. Pittsburgh won three AFC North Division titles, two AFC Championships and earned a victory in Super Bowl XLIII over the Cardinals. Arians was also part of the Steelers’ Super Bowl XL win as the team’s wide receivers coach.

Under Arians’ guidance, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put together some of the best seasons in team history, establishing a then-franchise record with 32 touchdown passes in 2007, recording a then-team record 4,328 passing yards in 2009 and registering a career-high and Steelers-record 104.1 passer rating in 2007. Roethlisberger earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2007 under Arians.

In 2009, the Steelers’ offense became the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Rashard Mendenhall) in the same season.

Before joining the Steelers, Arians spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (2001-03). He joined Cleveland after spending three seasons with the Colts as the team’s quarterbacks coach. Working with offensive coordinator Tom Moore, Arians helped tutor Peyton Manning during his first three seasons in the league and helped him earn Pro Bowl berths in 1999 and 2000.

Arians’ first NFL job was with the Kansas City Chiefs, working as the team’s running backs coach for four seasons (1989-92). There he helped Christian Okoye to two Pro Bowl selections (1989, 1991). Arians also spent the 1996 season as the tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints.

Arians’ coaching career began as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, in 1975, before being elevated to running backs coach in 1977. He spent 1978-80 with Mississippi State as the school’s running backs/wide receivers coach before coaching the running backs at Alabama for two seasons (1981-82) under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Arians would later return to Mississippi State (1993-95) and Alabama (1997) to serve as the offensive coordinator for the respective schools. He became one of the youngest head coaches in Division I history when Temple University hired him in 1983 at the age of 30. He spent six seasons coaching the Owls (1983-88).

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Arians grew up in York, Pennsylvania, and played quarterback at Virginia Tech. He and his wife, Christine, have two children – son, Jake, and daughter, Kristi Anne, as well as a granddaughter, Presley and a grandson, Aiden.

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