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Bucs Hire Coach Lovie Smith; Texans Retain Penn State’s O’Brien

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has agreed to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, three days after the team fired Greg Schiano.

Former Pennsylvania State University coach Bill O’Brien will succeed Gary Kubiak at the Houston Texans, the school said. Five NFL head coaches were fired on Dec. 30, one day after the end of the regular season, including Schiano, Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions’ Jim Schwartz.

Smith, 55, was 81-63 in nine seasons with the Bears, leading the team to three playoff wins and a Super Bowl appearance after the 2006 season. He was fired after Chicago finished 10-6 in 2012 and missed the playoffs.

“We knew from the start of our search that he was the ideal man to lead our team into a new era,” Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer said in an e-mailed release. “Lovie is an accomplished and very well-respected head coach who has enjoyed success at every level of his 30-year career.”

The Buccaneers lost their first eight games of the 2013 season and finished with a 4-12 record, missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. The team was 11-21 in two seasons under Schiano.

The Buccaneers didn’t release terms of Smith’s five-year deal. ESPN reported it was worth more than $5 million annually.

The Texans (2-14) lost their final 14 games of the 2013 season to finish with the worst record in the NFL. Kubiak was fired in December and Wade Phillips was interim coach for the final three games of the season.

Texans spokesman Kevin Cooper said in an e-mail that the team had no comment on the coaching search. O’Brien’s agent, Neil Cornrich, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Belichick Assistant

A former assistant under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, O’Brien was 15-9 in two years with the Nittany Lions. He was hired in January 2012, taking over amid a child sex-abuse scandal centered on former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky that led to the exit of coach Joe Paterno, who won two national championships in 46 seasons at Penn State.

The school’s athletics website said defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach until a replacement is hired.

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