BUCS BENEFIT FROM TOM COUGHLIN'S SIGN OF RESPECT
"Tom Coughlin could have said no.
After leading the New York Giants to a second Super Bowl title within five
seasons, Coughlin could have blocked Tampa Bay’s request to interview Mike
Sullivan, Coughlin’s long-time assistant dating back to their days together in
Instead, after some conversations that Sullivan admitted were difficult,
Coughlin gave his blessing and the Buccaneers quickly had themselves an
offensive coordinator for Greg Schiano’s new staff. From a selfish standpoint,
Coughlin certainly didn’t want to lose Sullivan, who had worked wonders with New
York receivers before switching to quarterback coach the past two seasons and
helping Eli Manning reach elite status.
But out of respect for a key assistant, Coughlin reluctantly allowed Sullivan
to pursue his dreams in Tampa.
“He will bring a lot to the Buccaneers program,’’ Coughlin said. “He’s
disciplined, he’s hard-working, he’s efficient, he’s smart, he makes good
decisions,’’ Coughlin said upon Sullivan’s departure. “He’ll have an immediate
impact on all the players in that program. We’re sorry to lose him, but we
understand the nature of this business.’‘
Sullivan describes Coughlin as his mentor and role model.
“He’s been such a great man,’’ Sullivan said. “He gave me an opportunity in
Jacksonville, he gave me the opportunity to come up here (New York) and at a
time when a lot of coaches and a lot of general managers are blocking assistants
from having a chance to pursue other opportunities, advancements if you will, I
will be eternally grateful for Coach Coughlin and (GM) Jerry Reese supporting me
Sullivan has been working overtime with some of Schiano’s other offensive
staff members to install a system suited for Tampa Bay’s personnel. Schiano is
on record saying he wants a physical offense that takes shots downfield.
That sounds an awful lot like the offense Sullivan just left in the
“I hired Mike Sullivan in Jacksonville as a quality control coach,’’ Coughlin
said. “When we came here (2004), Sully actually had something else going on, but
he wanted to be here with us. He has been outstanding. We appreciate everything
he’s done with us and wish him well in his new assignment.’‘
Teacher and pupil will cross paths later this year when the Bucs visit the