TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Greg Schiano believes he changed the Tampa Buccaneers for the better, though not enough to save his job.
The embattled Bucs coach was fired Monday after two losing years extended the franchise's playoff drought to six seasons. General manager Mark Dominik was also ousted, ending an unsuccessful five-year stint that produced flashes of hope but far more disappointment than ownership felt was acceptable.
"The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards and we believe the time has come to find a new direction," Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a brief statement released a day after a season-ending 42-17 loss to the New Orleans dropped Schiano's record to 11-21.
"Mark has been a valued member of our organization for two decades and we respect the passion he showed for the Buccaneers during his time here," Glazer added. "We thank Greg for his hard work and effort the past two seasons, but we feel these moves are necessary in order to achieve our goals."
In typical Bucs fashion, the reclusive owners of the team announced the third coaching change in five years with a one paragraph statement and did not schedule a news conference to discuss the situation. Schiano had three years and $9 million remaining on his contract.
Schiano thanked the Glazer family for the opportunity to coach the Bucs, and also expressed gratitude to his players, coaching staff and fans.
His biggest regret simply was not winning enough games to reflect the progress he feels the Bucs made under him.
"I think we're leaving behind a football team that is better than when we got here," Schiano told reporters at a hotel near the team's training facility.
"It was quite an honor and I enjoyed every day of it," the coach added. "We didn't get it done. I accept responsibility for that."
Word of the firing broke less than 30 minutes after the team closed the locker room, where players were sorting through equipment and belongings before scattering for the offseason. They met with the coaching and medical staff for exit interviews and physicals. They had not been informed of the dismissals before media was allowed into the room.
Many, including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, had hoped Schiano would keep his job.
"It's tough for the players to see your coaches go. You never want to see anybody get fired," McCoy said after the announcement. "Me personally, I haven't had any consistency in my career. Third head coach, going on my fifth year and three head coaches. Add up everybody, it'll be six d-line coaches."
The Bucs went 7-9 in their first season under Schiano, collapsing after a 6-4 start that had the team in playoff contention.
After trading for three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and signing safety Dashon Goldson in free agency to bolster a porous defense, the team entered training camp this season with heightened expectations.