TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Former Tampa Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy is still shocked by the Bucs decision to fire Lovie Smith.
“I hate to see (head) coach Smith go because I know how good a coach he is and I thought they were on the right track,” Dungy told News Channel 8.
Dungy, who coached the Bucs from 1996 – 2001, is close friends with Smith. He said as the Bucs begin a search to replace Smith, quality should trump speed when it comes hiring. The Bucs may be in a race against the clock because so many NFL teams are on the hunt for coaches.
“You can’t worry about the people you might lose,” Dungy said. “You have to worry about the people you do bring in.”
The Bucs have said there are looking closely at a few candidates, including current offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Many consider him the odds on favorite for the job. Other names are surfacing as well. The team released a statement:
(The Buccaneers are) confirming that Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will be interviewing this week for the team’s head coaching position.”
Dungy said the best thing for the Bucs to do is take their time. ”It’s always best to be patient, be thorough, take your time and make sure you get the right person,” he said.