Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin confirmed Sunday that he will join his son at the University of Tennessee after the NFL season ends.
Monte Kiffin told the St. Petersburg Times that he will become Tennessee's defensive coordinator. Lane Kiffin was named UT coach on Dec. 1.
"I made the decision last weekend and I went back and forth," Monte Kiffin told the newspaper. "It was a very, very hard decision because of players, our fans. When you've been in a place since 1996, you don't just jump ship. I've had other opportunities. There was one that came up last year that was a great opportunity and people don't even know for sure about the whole thing. But I stayed here, decided to sign back up for two years. But the club was very good about giving me the option to go with my son.
"It boiled down to one thing: It was your son, and that's what it is," Kiffin said. "I love these players. I addressed it Wednesday. I told (General Manager) Bruce (Allen). Jon (Gruden) was the first person I told. The head coach, he should know first. I told the defensive staff before I went downstairs at a quarter 'til 4. We had a team meeting at 4 o'clock and the whole team was there.
"I told them kind of what I'm telling you. I said, 'Guys, this was a tough decision. I went back and forth. I said I just want you to know now. I didn't think it was right to keep carrying it out.' "
Monte Kiffin has been regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL for years. The Bucs, after a 13-10, overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, are 9-5 and in second place in the NFC South.
“That would be almost like winning the lottery,” linebacker prospect Nigel Mitchell-Thornton said of playing for Monte Kiffin. “You’re learning an NFL system in college."