The Dallas Cowboys announced the hiring of Monte Kiffin as the team's new defensive coordinator today. Kiffin, who spent the past four seasons in the college ranks at Tennessee (2009) and Southern California (2010-12), brings a total of 47 years worth of coaching experience to the Cowboys organization, with 26 of those spent in the NFL (1983-2008).
His most recent 13 years of NFL coaching were as the defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2008) where he was the architect of the famous Tampa 2 defense. Eleven of his Buccaneer defenses ranked among the top 10 in the NFL in scoring defense and total yardage. Kiffin played an integral role in the Bucs making seven trips to the NFL postseason, including a World Championship in Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season. Along the way to the Super Bowl title, the Tampa Bay defense led the NFL in fewest total yards allowed per game (252.8), scoring defense per game (12.3) and interceptions (31).
Prior to his tenure in Tampa Bay, Kiffin spent time with six other NFL coaching staffs: Green Bay (1983), Buffalo (1984-85), Minnesota (1986-89 and 1991-94), the New York Jets (1990), and New Orleans (1995). Of his 26 previous years as an NFL assistant coach, Kiffin was a part of 13 teams that advanced to postseason play.
Before moving to the NFL, Kiffin spent 17 seasons at the college level. He started his career with an 11-year stint as an assistant at his alma mater, Nebraska (1966 to 1976). Kiffin was the defensive line coach from 1966 to 1972 under Bob Devaney, and he was elevated to the defensive coordinator's post by Tom Osborne in 1973. He was a member of the Cornhusker teams played in nine bowl games and won national titles in 1970 and 1971.
Kiffin moved from Nebraska to Arkansas in 1977 where he coordinated defenses for head coach Lou Holtz for three years on teams that played in the Orange, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls. He then served as the head coach at North Carolina State for three seasons (1980-82), where he compiled a 16-17 record while compiling winning seasons in each of his last two years with the Wolfpack.
Kiffin was born on Feb. 29, 1940 and earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Nebraska in 1963. He was a two-way tackle for the Cornhuskers and was a member of the 1964 team that played in the Orange Bowl.
Kiffin and his wife Robin have three children.
Quote from Jason Garrett:
Monte Kiffin's level of experience and track record of success as an NFL defensive coordinator are unmatched, and I am really looking forward to the contributions that he will make to our coaching staff and our football team. He has produced NFL defensive units that have consistently performed at a high level in a scheme that has stood the test of time.
Obviously that scheme will offer some changes to our defensive approach moving forward. I have spent the better part of the past two days in conversation with Monte regarding those changes, and we feel very good about our personnel being able to fit the philosophy.
I know Monte from spending time together with him with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had a chance to see him coach up close on a day-to-day basis. His ability to teach everything--from the smallest fundamental details to the big picture of the overall defensive scheme—was always very impressive to me.
Quote from Monte Kiffin:
I'm very excited about returning to the NFL and being with the Dallas Cowboys.
I came away from the interview process with Jason with a feeling that Dallas is the right place to be. He has this team headed in the right direction. They're close, and I am confident that there are quality pieces in place for us to be able to get the job done.
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