IRVING, Texas – The uncertainty surrounding who stays and who goes on the Cowboys coaching staff is sure to keep those around Valley Ranch edgy, uncomfortable and anxious these days, as the next move can only be speculated.
With a new defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin, that particularly rings true on the defensive staff. But if history is any indication, success and further opportunities should follow whoever ends up being a position coach on Kiffin’s staff.
Five of Kiffin’s defensive position coaches during his 13 seasons in Tampa Bay went on to become NFL head coaches. Another two became NFL defensive coordinators. It’s possible some of Kiffin’s former staff members could join the Cowboys’ staff, though most of them are still in professional coaching positions.
Here’s a run-through of some of Kiffin’s position coaches in Tampa Bay, and a timeline of their journey since coaching under Kiffin:
Lovie Smith – He joined the Tampa Bay staff at the same time as Kiffin in 1996, spending five seasons as the Buccaneers’ linebackers coach. Smith would become the Rams’ defensive coordinator before signing on as Chicago’s head coach in 2004, where he stayed through this season, taking the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance during his tenure. He’s now interviewing for other head coaching positions.
Mike Tomlin – The current Steelers coach spent five seasons as the Bucs’ defensive backs coach from 2001-05. It only took one more season in 2006 as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator for the Steelers to put the young coach in charge in Pittsburgh, where he won a Super Bowl in just his second season as head coach in 2008.
Rod Marinelli – Kiffin might know Marinelli best of any of his professional staff members. Marinelli served as the defensive line coach for the Bucs the same year Kiffin arrived in 1996 and remained in that position until 2005. He also picked up the title of assistant head coach in Tampa Bay in 2002. Marinelli would become a head coach of the Lions before joining Smith’s staff on the Bears, where he’s served as the defensive coordinator.
Herm Edwards – After serving as the defensive backs coach from 1996-2000 in Tampa Bay, Edwards quickly picked up a job as the head coach of the Jets in 2001. He stayed in that position through the 2005 season, before becoming the Chiefs’ head coach for three more years. Edwards is now an analyst on ESPN.
Raheem Morris – He was a Renaissance Man in the Bucs’ organization during Kiffin’s tenure as defensive coordinator. Morris was a defensive quality control coach in 2002, a defensive assistant in 2003, a defensive backs assistant coach in 2004 and 2005 and the defensive backs coach in 2007 and 2008 before becoming the head coach from 2009-11. Morris is back to coaching defensive backs for the Redskins.
Larry Coyer – Coyer was the Bucs’ defensive line coach in 2007 and the assistant head coach in 2008. He’d previously served as a defensive coordinator with the Broncos and Steelers. Coyer’s final coaching job would occur after his stop in Tampa Bay, serving as the defensive coordinator for the Colts from 2009-11. Coyer would go on to serve as the defensive coordinator for the Colts from 2009-11, which was his last coaching job. His first stop as a defensive coordinator came in 1974 at the University of Iowa.
Casey “Gus” Bradley – Bradley was in charge of defensive quality control in Tampa Bay in 2006, before becoming the Bucs’ linebackers coach for the next two seasons. Bradley’s been the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator since 2009, and he’s been interviewing for head coaching jobs.
Joe Barry – After spending six seasons as the Bucs’ linebackers coach from 2001-06, Barry served as the Lions’ defensive coordinator for two seasons. He would later return to his post at Tampa Bay after Kiffin left in 2009. He rejoined Kiffin at USC for two seasons as the Trojans’ linebackers coach from 2010-11, before becoming the San Diego Chargers’ linebackers coach in 2012.
Jethro Franklin – Franklin was the Bucs’ defensive line coach in 2006. He would go on to serve in the same position for the Texans for two seasons before joining USC’s coaching staff in 2009 as the defensive line coach and is currently coaching the defensive line at Miami.