NFL Head Coach Bruce Arians, a 1975 graduate of Virginia Tech, announced that he was stepping down as HC of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night.
Over the past three seasons, Arians went 31-18. That run includes a dominant 31-9 Super Bowl LV win. They made an early playoff exit last year, losing to the eventual SB Champ L.A. Rams.
Arians has made it clear that he’s not retiring, just passing the HC reigns to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as he’s, “moving to the front office…still working.”
This concludes a coaching career that took place over six decades, when he started at Virginia Tech as a graduate assistant, moving his way from college to college, and eventually the NFL – where he worked for seven different organizations, held two head coaching jobs (80–48–1), and won two AP NFL Coach of the Year awards in 2012 and 2014.
So, with Tom Brady returning to the team after a faux-six-week retirement, why is Arians retiring now?
It all came down to setting up Bowles, and the Bucs, for success:
“I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd. Tom’s decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd.”
Despite some rumblings about riffs between him and Tom Brady, Arians says, “I have no clue where it comes from. Tom and I have a great relationship.” Brady wished him farewell in an Instagram post,
“You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. Smart, tough, and loyal are a few of the words to describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had when you recruited me two years ago and all of the things we discussed came true.”
Arians ends his sidelines career with Tampa Bay, but it all started at Lane Stadium, where he played quarterback for the Gobblers his senior year under Head Coach Jimmy Sharpe. In 11 games that season (4-7), Arians threw for 952 yards and three touchdowns. More impressively, he ran for 11 touchdowns, a record for Tech quarterbacks that stood until 2016.
Returning to Lane Stadium in 2021, Arians said, “All Hokies are close. There’s nothing better to put a smile on my face than when you’re driving down the street and someone hollers, ‘Go Hokies!’ Because I’ve always got my gear on. It just puts a smile on your face. It’s amazing – the brotherhood of this team.”