banner
Bob Holliday

The Kiffin years helped set tone at NC State

Posted October 1, 2013

FILE: Southern California head coach Lane Kiffin, left, talks with cornerback Nickell Robey during pregame warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Virginia in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

— Because of recent events in college football, and the NFL, I am flashing back -- to the Kiffin years.

The Monte Kiffin era at NC State was brief and produced a very pedestrian 16-17 record. But it also gave us some memorable moments-and personalities.

Long before Pete Carroll won big at Southern Cal and became the wildly successful head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, he was Kiffin’s defensive coordinator in West Raleigh. Today we see him on television all the time in the NFL, but in the early 1980’s, he was just “Pete.”

Even in his days at NC State, he displayed a passion for recruiting. I vividly remember a conversation with Carroll in the hallway of the Weisiger Brown Building (NCSU’s former football office). He expressed concern (it was probably more like outrage) about a certain rival’s recruitment of under-qualified junior college players in California.

“Somebody ought to look into it,” he suggested. Carroll hails from San Francisco, and as he would later demonstrate at Southern Cal, he knows a little something about recruiting on the west coast.

Monte Kiffin twice started seasons at NC State 4-1, only to suffer heavy losses in October and November. However, he did his best to pump up interest in the program. Kiffin once made a grand entrance at a pep rally, dressed up as the Lone Ranger - even riding a horse. He often talked about jumping out of an airplane, though I can’t confirm that he actually ever did this. Kiffin did show up at the front door of high school star Joe McIntosh, around Christmas, dressed up as Santa Claus. The ploy worked, as McIntosh signed with the Wolfpack and later became one of the leading rushers in NC State history.

I’ve seen some writers describe the latter-day version of Monte Kiffin, the NFL defensive coordinator, as somewhat “crusty.” He was never that way at NC State. Probably the only cross words he ever directed toward the sports staff at WRAL came once when we scheduled him to do a live interview and he had to wait a few minutes. He wanted to know, “What’s the big deal about doing this live?”

He wanted to talk on tape and get out of there, but once the red light came on for our live shot, he was Monte Kiffin - upbeat, even effervescent.

Many NC State fans really looked forward to Kiffin’s annual pre-season address to the Raleigh Sports Club. The coach used his flamboyance, and sense of humor to effect - sometimes in a humbly self-deprecating way.

During his 1982 talk, Kiffin shared the story of a card he’d received the previous December from Athletic Director Willis Casey. Kiffin had committed the contents of the card to memory: “Merry Christmas from the Peach Bowl. Wish you were here. Willis.”

The story received a lot of laughs from the audience.

We in the media probably should have paid more attention to that Willis Casey Christmas card. When Kiffin’s 1982 team again missed on a bowl bid, the coach and NC State parted. Kiffin held a press conference to announce his departure. He read a prepared statement and said, ‘resigning was my decision.’

What I really remember is Monte’s wife Robin Kiffin taking the hand of her young son and waving it. “Tell them bye-bye,” she said. “Tell them bye-bye.”

The young son of course was Lane Kiffin, and as an adult coach, he has become pretty well-versed in this scene. He was on the waving end of the good-bye at Tennessee, and he has twice been on the receiving end of the good-bye, first with the Oakland Raiders, and most recently with Southern Cal this past weekend.

Lane Kiffin found his big break in coaching in 2001. He was hired as the tight ends coach at Southern Cal, by of course Pete Carroll.

Carroll addressed the USC firing at his Seattle press conference Monday, saying, “This is really tough. I’ve known Lane since he was a little kid.”

So, even though NC State fans want more wins - and it does look like Dave Doeren may be able to do just that - those who wear red and white can take pride in the accomplishments of players and coaches connected to the program.

NC State is the only school which currently counts three alumni among the starting quarterbacks of the NFL (Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon). And former coaches are also making their mark: Monte Kiffin is the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys; Pete Carroll is the head coach for the Seattle Seahawks; Noel Mazzone is the offensive coordinator at UCLA; Marc Trestman is the head coach for the Chicago Bears.

And while Lane Kiffin has become a lightning rod for controversy, it wouldn’t be surprising to him to see him return to the NFL the next time Pete Carrroll needs an offensive coach.

17 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • buco Oct 2, 2013

    Does he get paid to write this stuff

  • Rip Rock Oct 2, 2013

    Oh my god, this has to be the dumbest article ever written. The only tone he set was don't try an onside kick against your arch rival to start the second half of a game when you have the lead. He was all fluff and no stuff.

  • F0reAutumn Oct 2, 2013

    LOL...so, in other words, he was fired.

    As was Tom Reed.

  • thomasew Oct 2, 2013

    Huh? He must mean set the tone for mediocrity.

  • olivechapel1000 Oct 2, 2013

    Perhaps why Carroll took Wilson in the Draft?

    Also, I wonder what Kiffin was thinking when Rivers was eating him up last Sunday.

    At least NC State has some good memories of football at times.

  • jmcdow2792 Oct 2, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Me too. I just remember that we did not win as many games as we should have and that no one seemed to be sad when Monte left.

  • buster102007 Oct 1, 2013

    What a well written article. That donkeyass carlton cooter needs to take lessons from this guy.

  • buster102007 Oct 1, 2013

    What a well written article. That donkeyass carlton cooter

  • Hammerhead Oct 1, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I wasn't even trying to be sarcastic. Maybe he set the tone for Chuck Amato.

  • buckets112 Oct 1, 2013

    View quoted thread



    exactly...what tone? what the fff is he talking about? this article makes no sense

More...

 

 

TV
  • NCAA: Division II Championship: Indiana (Pa.) vs. Florida Southern

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: Teams TBD

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
2nd
DUKE 62
UTAH 55
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ATL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NJD
 
Final
ATL 4
BOS 2
Final
STL 5
NYM 4
Final
PHI 0
NYY 10
Final
MIN 2
PIT 4
Final
WAS 1
STL 1
4th
BAL 0
TAM 0
 
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
Final
CHC 6
CWS 3
Final
OAK 7
TEX 6
Final
ANA 2
ARI 7
Final
ARI 3
CLE 2
6:05pm Friday
HOU 0
MIA 0
 
Final
KAN 5
SEA 1
5th
SDP 2
COL 5
 
6th
CIN 5
MIL 7
 
7th
LOS 3
SFG 6
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
HOU
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
DET
STL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
TOR
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
WAS
 
4:05pm Today
CIN
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
MIL
CLE
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
COL
 
4:05pm Today
CWS
OAK
 
4:05pm Today
TEX
SDP
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
SFG
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
KAN
 
4:10pm Today
ANA
LOS
 
Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
Final
ORL 97
DET 111
Final
PHI 98
LAC 119
Final
NYK 92
BOS 96
Final
BRK 106
CLE 98
Final
TOR 94
LAL 83
Final
ATL 99
MIA 86
Final
MEM 84
GSW 107
Final
HOU 120
MIN 110
Final
NOP 102
SAC 88
Final
SAN 94
DAL 76
Final
DEN 107
UTA 91
4th
PHO 76
POR 77
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
GSW
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
OKC
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
DEN
 
Final
GONZ 74
UCLA 62
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
2nd
DUKE 62
UTAH 55
 
1st OT
NARZ 63
KSU 63
 
2nd
OKLA 51
MSU 54
 
6:09pm Tonight
WISC
ARZ
 
7:30pm Tonight
YALE
CAN
 
8:49pm Tonight
KENT
ND
 
Final
MIN 4
CAL 2
Final
CHI 2
CLB 5
3rd
EDM 4
DAL 0
 
12:30pm Today
WAS
NAS
 
1:00pm Today
NYI
ANA
 
1:00pm Today
PIT
ARI
 
1:00pm Today
BOS
NYR
 
1:00pm Today
PHI
SJS
 
2:00pm Today
DET
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CLB
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
DAL