Bruce Arians has been named the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His staff is slowly being established as well. Two of those named have already had stints in Tampa. One-time Buccaneer offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is a familiar face.
The college coach
Going all the way back to 1979, Clyde Christensen started his coaching history with Mississippi as a graduate assistant. Shortly after a 4-7 season, it was time to move on and start making a name for himself. After Mississippi, he landed at little known East Tennessee State for two seasons. Ironically, they are also the Buccaneers.
After gaining some much needed experience, he would then be hired by non-other than Bruce Arians with the Temple Owls. He would be there during Arian’s winning season in 1984 before moving on again.
This time, joining another Pirate team, Christensen was hired by East Carolina. He would serve as offensive coordinator, running backs coach and quarterbacks’ coach during his time there. Fired with the rest of the staff in 1988 after posting not a single winning season, he was moving on once again.
In 1989 Clyde became the Holy Cross receivers and tight end coach and in 1990 he was promoted to offensive coordinator. The head coach at the time? Mark Duffner who turned the Buccaneers defense around some this previous season. During those two seasons, the team would win the Patriot leagues conference title.
Capitalizing on his success, Christensen made the leap to coach the running backs of South Carolina. At South Carolina, he only one season before jumping to Maryland to coach the quarterbacks for two seasons. At Maryland, he was reunited with head Coach Duffner. The offense flourished in Maryland during this time posting records that still stand today.
Not one to stay with a team long, Christensen then traveled south to join the Clemson Tigers from 1994 to 1995. This would be his last stop before entering the NFL.
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When I say Tampa you say Bay
Making the jump to the pros, Christensen was hired by Tony Dungy to be the tight ends coach. It was a position he would hold from 1996 to 1998. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would lose in the divisional round of the playoffs in 1997 after going 10-6 and then go 8-8 in 1998. However at seasons end, Christensen would move over to be the quarterback’s coach. That season, he would aide Trent Dilfer and eventual starter Shaun King get the team to 11-5, winning the NFC Central and eventually falling short in the NFC Championships. Then in 2000 Shaun King would be named the started and get the team back to the playoffs only to lose in the wild card round. Christensen was promoted to offensive coordinator after two seasons. In contrast to expectations, the Buccaneers would make the playoffs and lose in the wild card round.
Follow the leader
Tony Dungy was fired in 2001. Dungy would be quickly hired in Indianapolis and would bring Christensen with him. This time he would move to wide receivers’ coach with the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison to look after. He would hold the position until 2007 adding the title of assistant head coach in 2008. The 2009 to 2011 season he would move up to offensive coordinator. In 2011 the Colts would suffer the loss of Peyton Manning resulting in the team going 2-14. Afterward Christensen would take a step back moving to quarterbacks’ coach in 2012. During his time in Indy he only experienced two losing seasons.
Back to Florida
The 2016 and 2017 season saw Christensen move back to a coordinator role in Miami. He had success in 2016 with a playoff appearance. Unfortunately, the success would not last as Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL leaving the Dolphins scrambling to sign Jay Cutler to replace him. The team went 6-10. In 2018 Christensen moved to be the director of football/player development.
The return to Tampa
With Arians coming out of retirement, he is bringing coaches who have left a lasting impression on him. Could this be his dream team? Maybe. We do know this. Christensen has coached players such as Manning, Luck and Tannehill to good seasons. He will bring his work ethic in and bolster what Jameis Winston is already doing. One thing is for sure, with Christensen, Arians and Byron Leftwich to aide Winston, the hype going into 2019 will be extremely high.
Welcome back Clyde.