You’ve heard of Steelers West, but are you ready for Steelers South? Because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are shaping up to be the next team within the Steelers’ coaching tree that heavily draws from the source material, with the Buccaneers bringing former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as their head coach.
In truth, there has already been a Steelers West in the Tennessee Titans. They have had both Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey as their head coaches in the recent past, two other former Steelers offensive coordinators. Dick LeBeau was even their defensive coordinator, and they have had the likes of Nick Eason on their staff while bringing in players like Antwon Blake and Sean Spence.
Arians’ coaching staff has already reportedly been scheduled to include three coaches with Steelers ties. Former quarterback Byron Leftwich is expected to be his new offensive coordinator. Arians coached him in Pittsburgh and employed him while he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, even going so far as to say that he would be an offensive coordinator someday soon. He made that a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Another former Steeler that he employed with the Cardinals was former Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, who is reportedly bring brought in to coach the linebackers. He originally joined the Cardinals as a player and enjoyed his time there so much that he stayed on the coaching staff.
Already announced as joining the staff is Sean Kugler, being brought in to coach the offensive line. He was a member of the Denver Broncos’ coaching staff. In the cases of all three, they were members of coaching staffs whose head coaches were fired, which allows them to join another team if they choose.
Kugler was the Steelers’ offensive line coach from 2010 through 2012. Though a relatively short tenure, he was well-liked and really helped jumpstart the improvement of the line. He left to take the head coaching job at UTEP, a post he held until last year.
Then there is Harold Goodwin, who has followed Arians throughout his career. He helped with the offensive line and was a quality control assistant in Pittsburgh from 2007 to 2011. He followed Arians to Indianpolis in 2012, then to the Cardinals in 2013 until he retired. Goodwin was out of football in 2018, but is now back with the Buccaneers and Arians, working with the line again and serving as run game coordinator.
As should be expected, there are several other vacancies remaining on Arians’ staff, so who knows who may be added between now and when the staff is finalized. They might even pursue some of the Steelers’ free agents, which has been very common with the Cardinals and Titans in the past.
After Pittsburgh chose to move on from Arians as offensive coordinator following the 2011 season, he joined the Indianapolis Colts as offensive coordinator, but was able to serve as interim coordinator while Chuck Pagano was ill.
He was able to turn that into a full-time head coaching job with the Cardinals after that, and he even won head coach of the year—twice, first as the interim head coach with the Colts and then with the Cardinals. He retired after the 2017 season and joined the commentary booth, but is back on the sidelines for 2019.