Football teams that finish 2-14 rarely have to worry about losing assistant coaches to promotions from other teams or schools.

Unfortunately the Buccaneers found themselves in that rare situation on Friday when assistant defensive line coach Mike Phair was hired by the University of Illinois to become their co-defensive coordinator.

Phair joined the Buccaneers after head coach Lovie Smith was hired. Phair worked for Smith with the Bears previously,and assisted Joe Cullen with the Buccaneers defensive line, that despite disappointing play from free agent Michael Johnson, still put up respectable number, as the Tampa bay finished with 36 sacks, tied for 21st in the league.

Illinois coach Tim Beckham released this statement earlier on Friday.

“I am extremely pleased to add someone of Coach Phair’s caliber to our coaching staff,” Beckman said. “He is established as one of the rising defensive line coaches in the profession and is greatly prepared to take on the role as our co-defensive coordinator. His work with Lovie Smith, Coach Trestman and Rod Marinelli has provided an incredible amount of experience. Mike has worked with some outstanding defensive linemen during his career, and we are really looking forward to what he brings to the table.”

The Buccaneers relieved QB coach and 2014 acting offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo following the season, replacing him with former Tennessee assistant Mike Bajakian. Tampa Bay also added former Falcons offensive coordinator to fill the role vacated by Jeff Tedford late last season.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at
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6 years ago

I still cant believe we didnt fire Warhop