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Tampa Bay Bucs change the tone again by hiring Dirk Koetter as their head coach

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Around the offices of the Bucs, it is a brand-new verb.

Ask a silly question, and you might as well brace for the blunt answer. It may come without diplomacy, without niceties.

And just like that, you have been “Koettered.”

As of Friday, it is the sound of the Tampa Bay Bucs. Jason Licht, the general manager, was talking about one such instance where he bounced an idea off of Dirk Koetter, and Koetter dismissed him. Yep, “Koettered.”

And now, the entire franchise may be “Koettered.”

“I’ve always believed that if someone asks you a question, you give them an answer,” Koetter said Thursday as he was introduced as the Bucs’ new coach. “If you don’t want an answer, dont’ ask the question. You had better be tough enough to handle the answer.”

And so the plain-speaking Koetter becomes the 11th coach in Bucs’ history and the fifth in the last five years. Except for one 10-win season under Raheem Morris, the team has set up residency in the NFC South cellar.

Koetter, however, is confident that he can turn things around.

”Trust me, as I was coming up through the 34 years (of being a college and pro coach), I don’t think anyone said that I lacked confidence. Most people would probably say I had too much. I think I’ve gotten better at that over the years. I’ve reigned it in a little bit.

“I’m confident I can coach in this league. We got to get some breaks. There are tons of good stories about fast turnarounds. Look at Carolina. They were talking about firing Ron (Rivera) two years ago. They drafted well, drafted a quarterback, put players around him. I’m not worried. If some point comes when I’m not the right guy, I’m not the right guy.”

Upon being named to the job, Koetter immediately announced that Mike Smith, his boss in Atlanta, would come on board as the defensive coordinator. Koetter hasn’t decided if he’ll have an offensive coordinator, but he will retain play-calling duties.

“Every coach is unique, but Koetter has bits and pieces of all of them,” Licht said.

Licht describes Koetter as a leader and as a teacher. But he has never been a head coach in the NFL.

“I’m not going to coach until I’m 80,” said Koetter, 56. “This is my opportunity.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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