Tampa Bay Buccaneers make league history with 3 Black coaching coordinators

Fred Jeter | 12/3/2020, 6 p.m.
If there was an NFL award for coaching diversity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be a leading contender.

If there was an NFL award for coaching diversity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be a leading contender.

The Buccaneers are the first in league history to have three Black coordinators. Also, the team has two females in physically demanding positions normally associated with men.

The plan to stray from the norm seems to be working for head Coach Bruce Arians and his Hall of Fame quarterback in the making, Tom Brady.

The Bucs entered their Nov. 29 game against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with a 7-4 record and a solid shot at their first playoff berth since 2007.

These are the faces of diversity on the Bucs’ coaching roster. All three coordinators are in their first season with Tampa Bay.

Todd Bowles — Defensive coordinator: The 57-year-old native of Elizabeth, N.J., played in the NFL as a safety from 1986 to 1997 and was head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018.

Byron Leftwich — Offensive coordinator: The 40-year-old from Washington, D.C., was an NFL quarterback 2003 to 2017. He was previously an assistant coach with Arizona.

Keith Armstrong — Special teams coordinator: From Trenton, N.J., the 56-year-old Armstrong played at Temple University and has served as a coaching aide with Atlanta, Chicago and Miami.

Lori Locust — Assistant defensive line coach: The 54-year- old Philadelphia native is a former athlete at Temple University, same as Coach Arians. She previously coached football at the high school and “semi-pro” levels.

Maral Javadifer — Assistant strength and conditioning coach: The 31-year-old native of Flushing, N.Y., is a former basketball standout at Pace University in New York.

The spotlight will fall more and more on the Bucs’ diversity should the team continue toward the playoffs and make a postseason run.

A possible home-field advantage is an enticing carrot to chase. The Super Bowl is set for Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.