Lane Kiffin appreciates the many opportunities he has been given growing up as Coach Monte Kiffin’s son: ‘I try to be more like him every year’
OXFORD, Miss. — At the core of his being, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin is a coach’s kid. A quick look at his lineage proves that fact. His father, Monte, is an Ole Miss analyst, but the rest of his dad’s resume is even more impressive.
The elder Kiffin, widely considered to be one of the preeminent defensive coordinators in the country, has coached in college at Nebraska, Arkansas, North Carolina State and then went to the NFL where he served with the GreenBay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and most notably with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he pioneered the “Tampa Two” defense that led the Bucs to their first Super Bowl title.
He was inducted into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor in 2021 and ranks as the longest-tenured coach in Tampa Bay franchise history, having spent 13 seasons with the organization from 1996-2008 under head coaches and fellow Ring of Honor members Tony Dungy (1996-2001) and Jon Gruden (2002-08).
Kiffin became the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor and the only assistant coach to have that prestigious recognition.
He went on to join Lane’s staff at Tennessee, Southern Cal, Florida Atlantic and now, Ole Miss. That kind of history is sort of mirrored by the opposing coach this week for the Rebels.
Louisiana-Monroe head coach Terry Bowden is also the son of a coach. His father, Bobby, won 377 games as a college head coach, a pair of national championships, 21 bowl games and had his Florida State team consistently in the top five in the nation at the season’s end.
Kiffin recognizes the Bowden legacy and as a coach’s kid, he understands it.
“First off I have a lot of respect for Coach (Terry) Bowden,” Kiffin said. “We played him in a Boca (Raton) Bowl when he was at Akron, and I got to visit with him then and he did some really amazing things at a young age and he won his first 20 games at Auburn,” Kiffin commented.
Kiffin is grateful for all knowledge he has gained over the years as the son of a coach.
“I think growing up around it was awesome. I’m very appreciative of that opportunity because you start learning so much at an early age and you’re kind of going to ‘football college’ already while you’re growing up. So I’m very appreciative of that and well aware that’s had a lot to do with getting opportunities early on.“
Lane Kiffin on growing up as a coach’s kid
Kiffin acknowledged there are differences between his and his dad’s style of coaching, but that he also tries to emulate the elder Kiffin.
“I think we’re very different in a lot of ways, I mean the obvious one is offense-defense,” Kiffin said.
“I try to be more like him every year. I think he’s an amazing person when it comes to relationships with the other coaches and players and developing them on and off the field. I just know all the former players that I know, the way they talk about him. We were even on text Saturday morning with (former Tampa Bay and Pro Football Hall of Famers Warren) Sapp and (John) Lynch and (Derrick) Brooks about him because there was an old picture of him at Nebraska where he loooked like my brother…so he’s left a legacy and touched a lot of people. So, I really try to work on that and I’ve got a long way to go.“
Lane Kiffin on his dad, Monte Kiffin
The Warhawks are 2-8 on the season and are on an eight-game losing streak. But do not count out Bowden’s squad which includes former Ole Miss running back Isaiah Woullard.
When Bowden took his first big-time job, he was so unprepared for his introductory press conference he had to borrow an orange and blue tie to represent his new employer. In his first game as the Auburn head coach, his Tigers won the first game of an undefeated season.
The team Bowden beat that night? Ole Miss.
The legacy continues Saturday as the two coaches’ kids lead their respective teams in an 11:00 a.m. game at Vaught-Hemingway. It will be Senior Day for the Rebels.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.