Bucs coach Dirk Koetter considers Marvin Lewis a role model and friend

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter has had several coaching role models in his life.

One, of course, was his father Jim, who was a football coach for 35 years, mostly at the high school level.

Another is Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, who was a teammate at Idaho State in the late 1970s and an assistant coach there under Jim Koetter for two seasons.

But they’re also pretty good friends. Lewis often spent Thanksgiving with the Koetter family and Lewis actually introduced Dirk Koetter to the woman he would later marry. Dirk Koetter was in Lewis’ wedding and Lewis’ daughter, Whitney, was the flower girl at Dirk Koetter’s wedding.

“Marvin’s been a great role model for me,” Dirk Koetter said. “Marvin’s one of the best people, let alone coaches, I’ve ever been around. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Naturally, people who are close have entertaining stories about each other, and Dirk Koetter told a good one on Wednesday during the NFC coaches' breakfast at the NFL’s annual owners meeting at the Boca Raton Resort.

Dirk Koetter, Lewis and several friends were visiting a cabin Koetter’s family owned in Island Park, Montana, and the group decided to take a rafting/canoe trip down a local river. After gathering at the entry point for the trip, Lewis was one of the people who drove cars to the takeout point on the river.

After being ferried back to the entry point, the group got on the river and had an enjoyable time -- until it was time to leave.

“We get all the way down however many miles down the river and we get out and we’re ready to go and Marvin left the keys at the other end,” Koetter said. “So we’ve got no way back.

“So, Marvin the outdoorsman [is] not as good as Marvin the coach.”

Lewis actually made a cryptic comment about a canoe on Tuesday morning during the AFC coaches' breakfast when he was asked about Dirk Koetter, but there’s no way to know today if he was referring to the same incident.

“Ask him if he ever was able to row a canoe,” Lewis said. “And could get from Point A to Point B without falling in the water.”

Lewis was also complimentary of Dirk Koetter, saying he knew early on in their friendship that he would eventually become a head coach.

“He’s been a student of the game,” Lewis said. “I mean, we sat in grad school classes and never paid attention. All we did was doodle plays back and forth. So it hasn’t shocked me [that Dirk Koetter has been a successful coach].”