Tampa, Florida – The team announced Wednesday night that Bruce Aryan will be stepping down after three seasons as head coach of the Tampa Bay Pirates and moving to a front office with the organization.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will replace Aryan as head coach. A league source told ESPN’s Adam Shifter that the Bucs terminated a new five-year contract with the Bowles coach earlier Wednesday.
Arians told ESPN he doesn’t see the change as retirement. “No, move to the front office,” he said in a text message. “I’m still working.”
His new job title will be Senior Football Consultant.
Despite multiple health concerns throughout his career, Aryan, 69, said the move was in no way motivated by his health. The Arians and Buccaneers have been working on a succession plan for the past several weeks, and Arians have informed players and members of his coaching staff the news before the team’s announcement.
Arians went 31-18 (.633) in three seasons in Tampa Bay, the highest winning percentage of any coach in Buccaneers history, and led the team to victory in the Super Bowl LV after the 2020 season. He won five playoff games with Buck. Every other coach in franchise history has won six coaches combined.
“I have spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football coach in one form or another. Today, I made the decision to move from the sidelines to another role with the Buccaneers front desk, and assisting [general manager] “I love football. I love relationships, strategy, competition – everything. It has been a fun journey, but I know this is the time for me to make this transition,” Arians said in a statement.
Bowles, 58, was the former New York Jets head coach from 2015-18, when he went 24-40. He also served as interim coach for the Miami Dolphins for three games to end the 2011 season, going 2-1.
The Bowles’ presence ensures continuity in a Bucs side that has largely remained unchanged since their Super Bowl victory, with the exception of departures by assistants Mike Caldwell, Cody Grimm and Antwaan Randle El.
“I appreciate the family and Jason Licht for trusting me to take on this role, and for training Arianes to support and guide him over the past four decades,” Bowles said in a statement. “Tampa has become home to my family, and we are excited to remain a part of this community for years to come. As an organization, we have all the pieces to continue the winning standard that has been established here in recent years. I am eager to start with our players, coaching staff and front office in preparation for the 2022 season.”
The Bulls are currently the sixth major minority coach in the NFL, joining Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, Ron Rivera of Washington, Robert Saleh of the Jets, Luffy Smith of Houston, and Mike McDaniel of Miami. He is also the fourth black coach in Bock’s history, joining Tony Dungey, Raheem Morris and Smith.
Arians’ departure is the Bucs’ second major announcement this off season, after quarterback Tom BradyHis announcement in February was ending his career. Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady returned after 40 days, saying he would play the 23rd season and noting that he had “unfinished business.”
brady, In an Instagram post On Wednesday night, the Arians said it was a big part of his decision to play in Tampa Bay and that he would be “forever grateful.”
“You are a great guy and coach, and it was an honor to play for you,” Brady wrote. “You are a true legend in the NFL and a pioneer in all the work you did to make the league more diverse and inclusive. Smart, tough and loyal are just a few words to describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had when you recruited me two years ago and all the things we discussed came true.”
In his statement, Arianes said he “really started thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this off season.”
“I wanted to ensure when I left that the Todd Bulls would have the best chance of success,” he said. “A lot of coaches come in situations where they are set up to fail, and I didn’t want that to Todd.
“Tom’s decision to return, along with Jason and his crew who are doing another fantastic job keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, assured me that this was the time to pass the torch to Todd.”
With the Arians stepping down, 10 teams from the NFL – roughly a third of the league – will have a new head coach this coming season. This represents the largest number of changes in training from one year to the next since 2008-2009, when there were 11 changes in position.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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