Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Assistant Monte Kiffin, along with Denver’s Wade Phillips, has been selected as part of the Class of 2016 for the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). The Dr. Z Award is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL. The award is named for Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated’s lead pro football writer.
Kiffin, 76, is entering his 50th year of coaching, with 28 years of NFL experience and 21 years in the collegiate ranks. Kiffin was hired by the Jaguars as the team’s defensive assistant on March 21, 2016. “It is an honor to receive this award with Coach Wade Phillips, as he is one of the best in the business,” said Kiffin. “I have so much respect for Wade, his father, Bum, and his family, and what they have done for the game of football. I’ve been fortunate to work with some great coaches, as well as many outstanding players, during my career, so I owe everything to those guys. Lastly, I want to say ‘thank you’ to Paul Zimmerman for the impact he has made on the football community and for sharing the game we love with so many people.”
A native of Lexington, Kiffin played offensive and defensive tackle at the University of Nebraska from 1959-63 before a one-year professional stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1965. Kiffin then returned to his alma mater as a defensive assistant for seven seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1973, a position he would hold for four seasons (1973-76). Kiffin then joined Arkansas’ staff as the defensive coordinator for three seasons (1977-79), including the final season as the team’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Following his stint at Arkansas, Kiffin became the head coach at North Carolina State for three seasons (1980-82), his only head coaching opportunity.
After going 16-17 as the head coach at North Carolina State, Kiffin served as the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers (1983), the Buffalo Bills (1984-85), the Minnesota Vikings (1986-89) and the New York Jets (1990), before returning to Minnesota as the defensive coordinator in 1991, and the linebackers coach for three seasons (1992-94). Kiffin went on to be the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints (1995), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2008) and the University of Tennessee (2009). During his time with Tampa Bay, Kiffin oversaw a defensive staff that included current Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley (linebackers coach) and current Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash (defensive quality control coach, defensive line coach).
Kiffin was defensive coordinator at Southern California from 2010-12 before returning to the NFL ranks with the Dallas Cowboys as the defensive coordinator in 2013. Kiffin spent the 2014 season as the assistant head coach for the defense. During the Jaguars defensive coordinator search in 2016, Kiffin served as an unofficial consultant. Kiffin and his wife, Robin, have three children: Heidi, Lane and Chris.
KIFFIN’S COACHING BACKGROUND: Nebraska 1966-76, Arkansas 1977-79, North Carolina State (head coach) 1980-82, Green Bay Packers 1983, Buffalo Bills 1984-85, Minnesota Vikings 1986-1989, 1991-94, New York Jets 1990, New Orleans Saints 1995, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1996-2008, Tennessee 2009, Southern California 2010-12, Dallas Cowboys 2013-14, Jacksonville Jaguars 2016-.