Former Bucs coordinator Monte Kiffin happy to be back
MOBILE, Ala. – Monte Kiffin is back, and he’s as energetic as ever.
The longtime Bucs defensive coordinator and, now, recently-hired Cowboys coordinator stopped by Ladd-Peebles Stadium this morning to scout players ahead of this weekend’s Senior Bowl, and he hasn’t lost a step.
“I love it in Mobile today,” he said, with his typical enthusiasm. “The sun is out. I love it. It’s just fun to be back and get it going and start scouting some of these players.”
After four years in the college ranks working with his son, Lane, at Tennessee and USC, Monte decided to part ways after the season and go back to the pro game, where he made his mark.
He said the decision wasn’t easy.
“It was good,” said Kiffin, who still owns his home in Madeira Beach. “I like college. College is fun.”
But there’s something to be said for being back in his most comfortable environment, as well as for having familiar faces around. Another former Bucs ssistant, Rod Marinelli, has joined Kiffin’s Cowboys defensive staff. Watching the two work together again will be compelling, at minimum.
Kiffin is pumped up about it.
“He’s a knockout,” Kiffin said of Marinelli. “We started in 1996 with Tony Dungy. They found him out at Southern Cal, Rich McKay and Jerry Angelo. They said, ‘Tony, we need to go out and see this defensive line coach at Southern Cal.’
“He’s just a great ball coach. And besides that, he’s just a tremendous person. He’s a leader. The Bucs players, the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears, they all loved Rod Marinelli.”
Kiffin, 72, doesn’t act his age. He never has. And don’t expect that to change.
“I’m ready to roll,” he said.
As he walked away to look for his next defensive standout, Kiffin turned and offered these parting words: "Tell all those Bucs fans back in Tampa I love them."