NFL: Lovie Smith returns to work for Tampa Bay Buccaneers, replacing Greg Schiano
Lovie Smith has returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signing a five-year contract to become their new head coach.
Last Updated: 02/01/14 10:40pm
Smith, who has been out of work since he was fired by the Chicago Bears in December 2012, returns to a franchise where he spent four years earlier in his career as linebackers coach during the reign of Tony Dungy.
The 55-year-old boasted an 81-63 record in his nine seasons in charge of the Bears, leading them to three division titles and Super Bowl XLI in Miami, where they lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
He was shown the door after a 10-6 record in his final season in Chicago wasn't enough to prevent the team missing the play-offs for the fifth time in six years.
"Today is an exciting day for the Buccaneer organisation, and the entire Tampa Bay community, as we welcome back Lovie Smith," Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a statement.
"We knew from the start of our search that he was the ideal man to lead our team into a new era of Buccaneer football.
"Lovie is an accomplished and very well-respected head coach who has enjoyed success at every level of his 30-year career."
The Buccaneers sacked Greg Schiano, who had been in charge for two years, on Monday after a 4-12 season that saw them start with eight straight losses.
The head coach was not the only man to pay the price for sharing bottom spot, alongside the Atlanta Falcons, in the NFC South; general manager Mark Dominik was also shown the door.
Tampy Bay has not made the play-offs since 2007 and haven't tasted victory in the post season since triumphing in the Super Bowl five years before that, under the stewardship of Jon Gruden.