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 with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to 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...

 

 

  • NHL Playoffs: Teams TBD

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Kentucky Derby

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL Playoffs: Teams TBD

    Saturday at 7:15 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Louisville

    Tonight at 7:05 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MLB: LA Dodgers vs. Toronto

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Kentucky Derby

    Saturday at 5:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASL: RailHawks vs. Ft. Lauderdale

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on 1550 The Ticket

NBA Scoreboard
Atlanta 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CT22:00
Preview
Cleveland 
 
Oklahoma City 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 CT0:30
Preview
San Antonio 
 
NHL Scoreboard
Washington 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET9:00 BRT
Preview
Pittsburgh 
 
MLB Scoreboard
Interleague
LA Angels 4:20 PT5:20 MT6:20 CT7:20 ET19:20 ET23:20 GMT7:20 4:20 MST6:20 EST6:50 VEN3:20 UAE (+1)6:20 CT
Preview
Milwaukee 
 
Washington 5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 MST7:15 EST7:45 VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 CT
Preview
Kansas City 
American League
Texas 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 MST6:07 EST6:37 VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 CT
Preview
Toronto 
 
Minnesota 5:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Houston 
 
Seattle 7:05 PT8:05 MT9:05 CT10:05 ET22:05 ET2:05 GMT10:05 7:05 MST9:05 EST9:35 VEN6:05 UAE (+1)9:05 CT
Preview
Oakland 
National League
Chi Cubs 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Pittsburgh 
 
San Francisco 4:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
Cincinnati 
 
Atlanta 4:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
NY Mets 
 
Philadelphia 5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 MST7:15 EST7:45 VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 CT
Preview
St. Louis 
 
Colorado 7:10 PT8:10 MT9:10 CT10:10 ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 MST9:10 EST9:40 VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 CT
Preview
San Diego 
 
Zurich Classic (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1B. Stuard - z-15F
2tB. An - y-15F
2tJ. Lovemark - y-15F
4B. Wyatt-14F
5tC. Kirk-13F
5tJ. Day-13F
5tJ. Vegas-13F
8tB. Molder-11F
8tP. Kizzire-11F
8tH. Varner III-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Texas LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1J. Shin-14F
2tM. Hur-12F
2tG. Piller-12F
2tA. Yang-12F
5S. Feng-10F
6A. Jutanugarn-8F
7tN. Choi-7F
7tE. Ji-7F
7tS. Kim-7F
10tK. Icher-6F
View Full Leaderboard
 
Volvo China Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1H. Li-22F
2F. Aguilar-19F
3tL. Bjerregaard-18F
3tR. Bland-18F
3tM. Siem-18F
6tP. Hanson-17F
6tS. Hend-17F
6tR. Ramsay-17F
9tD. Lipsky-16F
9tA. Noren-16F
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Monday, May 2
(ATP/WTA)
First Round
(16) G. Simon6 3 6   
M. Baghdatis3 6 4   
L. Mayer65 6 4   
F. Lopez77 4 6   
(11) M. Raonic77 6    
T. Bellucci64 1    
V. Troicki4 4    
A. Kuznetsov6 6    
(10) R. Gasquet6 77    
R. Carballes 1 65    
D. Istomin6 6    
T. Gabashvili1 4    
(12) D. Goffin64 6 67   
L. Pouille77 2 79   
N. Mahut4 4    
J. Sousa6 6    
R. Stepanek6 64 6   
V. Pospisil1 77 4   
P. Herbert77 65 4   
S. Querrey65 77 6   
(9) D. Ferrer0     
G. Garcia-Lop0     
 
WTA Scoreboard
Monday, May 2
(ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(13) K. Pliskova63 4    
C. McHale77 6    
(16) S. Stephens2 3    
P. Tig6 6    
(12) E. Svitolina2 64    
D. Gavrilova6 77    
(5) P. Kvitova6 6    
E. Vesnina3 3    
(4) V. Azarenka6 6    
A. Cornet3 2    
M. Keys6 6    
B. Strycova3 3    
(14) A. Ivanovic7 1 3   
L. Chirico5 6 6   
(3) G. Muguruza7 64 3   
I. Begu5 77 6