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.
We will take a look at Chris Kiffin’s human side in the second part of our three part series. In this part Chris shows that while he is not immune to the dark side of human behavior, he tends to take his flaws seriously and has worked hard to face them. He seems to be a very likeable guy that the players tend to gravitate to in spite of any human flaws he might possess.
Chris took a job at Idaho as a student assistant after graduating from Colorado State. The following summer he moved back to Tampa to work with his father as the assistant to the director of quality control. Unfortunately he got himself into a bit of trouble before the job even began. Long story short, after drinking all night with his buddies, he decided to get out of the rain for a couple of minutes by hopping into a van that wasn’t his. The police caught him getting out of the minivan and charged him with burglary. It looks like people then went out of their way to slander him for being Monte Kiffin’s son.
He ended up spending 28 days in rehab in California before going to Colorado to spend time with widowed cousin Danny Murphy and his three children. He worked golf course maintenance and spent lots of time with Danny’s children while regularly attending AA meetings during that time.
In 2007, Ed Orgeron whom worked with Chris’ brother Lane at USC offered him a job as a graduate assistant at Ole Miss. To quote the article:
“Chris thrived. Players gravitated to him, seeking his technique tips.”
Unfortunately, Chris had a drinking episode during a coaching break in Mississippi that made him reevaluate himself and after questioning his problem with alcohol, he decided to return to his cousin in Colorado. He got a job tutoring homeless children and served as the offensive coordinator of his ten year old nephew’s football team while he continued to work on his alcohol problem. His Cousin Danny and the love of his children appear to have had a very positive effect on Chris Kiffin the man during that time. While Chris may still be a Kiffin, I think Danny may have been the influence that might have given him something special that the other two Kiffin’s might not possess. Humility and compassion can be great qualities to have.
By December of 2007, Kiffin seemed to have his drinking problem under control and his cousin urged him to take a job at Nebraska and his career has been on a positive climb ever since. I will cover his time at Ole Miss and FAU in part 3.