First Offseason Chip Falls: Bisaccia Heads to San Diego

Buccaneer Special Teams Coach Rich Bisaccia accepted the same position with the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday, ending his 9-year stint with the Buccaneers. Bisaccia’s contact with the Bucs expired at the end of the 2010 season, and, given Bisaccia’s track record of success in Tampa Bay, it’s not surprising that teams came calling.

Although the amount of Bisaccia’s deal has not been disclosed as of yet, I suspect it’s a substantial amount higher than the Bucs were willing to offer, considering the move was a lateral move without an apparent immediate increase in responsibility. Given the Chargers’ porous special teams play this year, it’s not surprising that they would spend a little bit of money on one of the better coaches in the league to fix them. Bisaccia, an associate head coach with the Bucs, is a fiery leader whose team addresses on Saturday nights are well-known. After 9 seasons in Tampa Bay with little change in job responsibility, it’s also not unreasonable to imagine him leaving for a new opportunity at potential future advancement.

Bisaccia has been a stalwart in the team’s success. He joined the Bucs in 2002 and quickly established a productive special teams unit. During Bisaccia’s tenure, his kickoff coverage units averaged in the Top 10 in the NFL in the following: kickoff coverage – fewest yards allowed (5th), kickoff/punt coverage – fewest TDs allowed (3rd), kickoff return – return yardage (5th), gross punting yardage (7th), number of punts inside the 20-yard line (6th), and blocked field goals (5th). Most notably, the Buccaneers’ record futility in returning a kickoff for a touchdown ended on Bisaccia’s watch after spanning through parts of four decades. In fact, the Bucs have returned three kickoffs for touchdowns going back to 2007 and have returned both kickoffs and punts for touchdowns in 2008 and 2009, the only team in the NFL to accomplish that feat during that time. The Bucs have also placed three players in the Pro Bowl during Bisaccia’s time: P Josh Bidwell in 2005, LS Dave Moore in 2006, and KR Clifton Smith in 2008.

The Bucs promoted assistant defensive backs coach Dwayne Stukes to replace him. Stukes has been with the Buccaneers since 2006, where he started as a coaches’ assistant. He was an assistant special teams coach in 2008 and worked alongside Rich Bisaccia.