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Buccaneers give Monte Kiffin gift of Ring of Honor at 80th birthday celebration

The former longtime defensive coordinator will be Tampa Bay’s 14th inductee during a ceremony this season.
Monte Kiffin, shown here talking to safety John Lynch during a preseason game against the Jaguars on Aug. 16, 2002, this season will be the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor. [WHITE, KEVIN | St. Petersburg Times]

TAMPA — Monte Kiffin will never forget the present he received at his 80th birthday party.

During a surprise celebration at Raymond James Stadium’s Hall of Fame club Friday night, the Glazer family showed their gratitude to Kiffin by informing him he will be the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor.

The date for the ceremony will be set once the NFL schedule is released in April.

“That’s a date I’ll make,” said former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2013, the same year he went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kiffin served as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator for 13 seasons. He joined the team under Tony Dungy in 1996 and won Super Bowl 37 under Jon Gruden in the 2002 season. His final year with the Bucs was 2008.

“Monte Kiffin’s contributions to building and sustaining one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history were crucial to our franchise’s most successful era,” said Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer. “Monte worked closely with Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden using his signature defense that became the team’s identity and was a key part of winning the Super Bowl. He was an outstanding coach, teacher and leader who consistently got the best out of his players, and we eagerly anticipate welcoming him into our Ring of Honor this upcoming season.”

During Kiffin’s tenure as defensive coordinator, the Bucs ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed 11 times and in points allowed 12 times. His tenure included eight top-five finishes and two No. 1 rankings on defense in 2002 and 2005.