As general manager Mark Dominik hinted on ProFootballTalk Live earlier in the week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have exercised their option in Raheem Morris’ contract that will allow him to remain the head coach in 2011 and 2012.
Morris, along with general manager Mark Dominik, each signed two-year contracts in 2009, with the options for a third season. Morris' annual salary was reportedly in the $900,000-range. According to Rick Stroud of the St. Pete Times, Morris will now make $2 million per season, with a chance to earn up to $3.5 million in incentives.
The 34-year-old Morris, who is the youngest head coach in the National Football League, has been the Buccaneers’ head coach for the past two seasons since taking over in 2009 after former head coach Jon Gruden was fired. In his first year on the job Morris and the Buccaneers struggled and finished with a record of 3-13. But Morris led Tampa Bay to a franchise record seven-game turnaround in 2010 and the Bucs went 10-6, just narrowly missing the playoffs.During his time with the Bucs Morris has been known as a player’s coach that has earned the respect of everyone on his staff.
“It’s difficult in this league to affect and, to me, when he stands in front of that team everyone is behind Raheem Morris,” said offensive coordinator Greg Olson. “Every player – offense, defense, and special teams – is behind Raheem and it’s been a credit to him…He is such a high-energy, positive guy that those guys want to see him succeed and they put it all on the line to let him succeed. He has that infectious personality that’s nice to be around and they will tell you he is just a good guy to work for.”
Because of the way the team fights for Morris, Dominik believes he is the right man for the job."Over the last two years, at 3-13 and now 10-6, for 32 straight games this team has never quit on it's head coach, ever," said Dominik.
Morris started working with Tampa Bay in 2002 as the defensive quality control coach. In 2003 he became a defensive assistant. In 2004 and 2005 Morris served as the Bucs’ assistant defensive backs coach.
In 2006 Morris left the Buccaneers to become the defensive coordinator at Kansas State University. After just one season, he left to return to the Bucs as the defensive backs coach. That season Morris helped the pass defense become the top-ranked unit in the NFL. On Christmas, 2008, Morris was named the defensive coordinator after the Bucs learned that Monte Kiffin would be leaving the team after holding the position for 13 sucessful seasons. He took over as head coach a few weeks later.
In addition to being the head coach, Morris also serves as the team's defensive coordinator, which he started doing at the end of 2009 after firing former defensive coordinator Jim Bates. This season the Bucs' defense finished the season ranked 17th overall, with the seventh-ranked pass defense and the 28th-ranked run defense.