TAMPA — It has been a week since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers settled on Lovie Smith as their new head coach, yet the search for a general manager to replace Mark Dominik goes on.
What’s the holdup?
Well, one reason for the delay stems from the fact that Chris Ballard, the Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel and the Bucs first choice for the post, decided to stay on in his role in Kansas City.
The Chiefs did not block the Bucs from interviewing Ballard. Rather, Ballard decided he did not want to move his family again after making several moves the past few years, according to a Chiefs spokesman.
The Bucs fired Dominik and former head coach Greg Schiano a day after they led the Bucs through a 4-12 season in 2013. Schiano’s staff of assistants also was fired, but much of Dominik’s staff remains in place.
The Bucs are now believed to be targeting Atlanta Falcons player personnel director Lionel Vital, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson for the open general manager’s job.
All three have been mentioned in various internet reports in which unnamed sources have claimed the Bucs have asked for and received permission to speak to those candidates.
While the search for a general manager goes on, the search for assistant to round out Smith’s coaching staff is now nearing completion following the announcement Thursday of the hiring of 11 position coaches.
Most notable among the group is former Bucs linebacker Hardy Nickerson, who was named linebackers coach, and former Bucs assistant Kevin O’Dea as the team’s new special teams coordinator.
The Bucs also named Marcus Arroyo as quarterbacks coach, Andrew Hayes-Stoker as wide receivers coach, Tim Spencer as running backs coach, Matt Wiegand as assistant offensive line coach and Ben Steele as offensive quality control coach.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs named Joe Cullen as defensive line coach, Mikal Smith (Lovie’s son) as safeties coach, and Larry Marmie as a senior defensive assistant. Dave Kennedy was named head strength and conditioning coach.
The Bucs previously named former University of California head coach Jeff Tedfor their offensive coordinator and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier their defensive coordinator.
Cullen (Cleveland) and O’Dea (Kansas City) are making the jump to the Bucs from previous NFL teams, while Smith and Spencer last worked in the NFL as part of Lovie Smith’s 2012 staff in Chicago
Arroyo (University of Southern Mississippi), Hayes-Stoker (Florida International), Kennedy (Texas A&M), Steele (University of California-Davis) and Wiegand (UC-Davis) come to the Bucs directly from the college ranks, where all have spent the bulk of their careers.
Marmie is 40-year coaching veteran with 13 years of NFL experience who last worked as a defensive backs coach for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League and Nickerson is coming off a four-year stint as the head coach at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif.
The Bucs remain on the lookout for an offensive line and possible tight ends coach on the offensive side of the ball and cornerbacks coach on the defensive side of the ball