TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the most diverse staff in the NFL, but head coach Bruce Arians said that wasn’t by design.
“They are the best coaches I know,” Arians said.
Each of the coordinators is Black: Todd Bowles runs the defense, Byron Leftwich the offense and Keith Armstrong special teams.
“A player is going to ask a coach, ‘How are you going to make me better?’ He doesn’t really care if the answer comes from a male or female, Black, white, brown, yellow…” Arians said. “If you can teach, you can coach.”
Citing excellent women teachers he had growing up, Arians said he never gave a second thought to hiring Lori Locust as an assistant defensive line coach or adding Maral Javadifar to the strength and conditioning staff.
“You have to understand, there is a blessing and a curse in regards to media coverage, because what it looks like sometimes is we sprung up out of nowhere, whereas there are hundreds of women that are at various levels of football,” Locust said.
The Buccaneers are the first team with two women on their coaching staff to make it to the Super Bowl.
It takes time to make progress and coaches like Arians who think outside the box. So while he watched seven head coach vacancies get filled, he wondered why a coach like Leftwich didn’t even get an interview.
“I was a little upset that Byron didn’t get one because Byron is what everyone is supposedly looking for — a quarterback, a play caller and he’s African American. So I don’t know what else you’re looking for,” Arians said. “He’s a great leader.”