Sources say Smith is in negotiations with the Bucs for a four-year contract, and that former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is a candidate for defensive coordinator.
TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were closing in on a deal Wednesday night to hire Lovie Smith as their head coach, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn't been finalized.
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the news.
One person with knowledge of the talks told USA TODAY Sports that Smith is in negotiations with the Bucs for a four-year contract. The person did not want to be identified, as they are not authorized to comment on the sensitive details.
The person also indicated that Smith is expected to bring Jeff Tedford – who was Aaron Rodgers' coach at Cal -- with him as offensive coordinator and is hoping to land either Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli or former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator.
Smith, 55, was out of football this season after being fired by the Chicago Bears, who were 81-63 with three playoff trips and a Super Bowl appearance in his nine seasons at the helm.
Once the deal is completed, Smith will rejoin the organization that gave him his first NFL coaching job, as linebackers coach under Tony Dungy from 1996 to 2000.
Smith would replace Greg Schiano, who was fired Monday after two seasons with an 11-21 record.
It appeared Schiano might have saved his job after the Bucs rebounded from an 0-8 start this season. But they closed with three straight losses, including a 42-17 blowout Sunday in New Orleans that sealed his fate.
Smith's personality is steady as they come – a welcome change for a Bucs organization that rode a roller coaster with Schiano, who ruffled feathers by blitzing opponents' victory formations, had a public feud with quarterback Josh Freeman and had four losing streaks of three games or more.
Also Monday, the Bucs fired general manager Mark Dominik, who has not been replaced.