The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly hired Chris Kiffin to serve as a pass rush specialist coach. The team has not made the news official, but we can likely start to get to know the newest 49ers assistant. Considering he is the son of Monte Kiffin and the brother of Lane Kiffin, he’s got an interesting story.
While I was doing research to write an article on Kiffin, I came across this July 2009 story about his childhood, written by Dirk Chatelain of the World-Herald News Service. Dirk did such a wonderful job that I thought I would share it with you. This deep look into Chris’ childhood is invaluable in getting to know the latest addition to our coaching staff. The article is well worth a read.
Chris Kiffin was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on January 19, 1982. His father was the head coach for North Carolina State at the time. He then moved, due to his father’s nomadic coaching career, to Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, New York, New Orleans, and back to Minnesota. They finally ended up in Tampa Bay in 1996, where Monte was the defensive coordinator for Tony Dungy during the implementation of the infamous Tampa 2 defense.
Tampa’s coaching staff included assistants like Herm Edwards, Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli. Chris could explain the Cover 2 in his sleep, and he was heavily influenced by the work ethics of John Lynch and Warren Sapp. According to the article, one of his unofficial duties as a ball boy in Tampa was to sign fan mail for Sapp in exchange for Sapp warm up suits.
When it became time for Chris to go to high school, Monte Kiffin interviewed prospective high school football coaches until he settled on his son going to a Catholic all-boys school. Chris didn’t have any say in the matter as would be expected with a man like Monte Kiffin as your father.
He then went to Colorado State where he played under Sonny Lubick. From what I have read in other articles, he was a pretty good defensive lineman, too. He spent his summers during his college years in Southern California where his brother Lane Kiffin coached under Pete Carroll. He had thoroughly been indoctrinated into defense 101 and defense 202 and he didn’t even have a degree yet.
Below is a direct quote taken from the article along with a link to the breakdown of the Tampa 2 defense. Tomorrow I will cover Chris Kiffin’s life from the time he graduated from high school until just before he started coaching at Ole Miss.
“In college, he spent summers at USC during the Trojans’ span of 45 wins in 46 games. He was living with Lane, working out with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, observing staff meetings and film sessions. He played pick-up basketball with Pete Carroll and his assistants”