Coaches around the nation embrace many more roles than just one. There is a role that surpasses the X’s and O’s, the traveling required to find the most fitting recruits and all the photos that come with being the face of a program. Playing the role of a father to many players is something that is often brushed under the rug by those who only see a coach as a sideline decision maker. You may be surprised by the similarities of being a Division One head football coach and being a father within the walls of a home. A man who is currently living this out, but was also raised by a coaching legend himself is Lane Kiffin. Coach Kiffin is the Head Football Coach of Florida Atlantic University and a father to three.
Coach Kiffin was raised in a family devoted to football as his father Monte is one of the best defensive minded coaches in the sport's history. Monte was one of the masterminds behind the famous "Tampa 2" defense which helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl XXXVII. Kiffin takes many of the lessons he learned from his father as a young boy and uses them in his life today. "My father had a tremendous work ethic, and still does," Kiffin said. "He always found a way to get to my games or practices, even if he just left the practice field, he would find a way to make it there."
There are many similarities when it comes to being a father at home and coaching NCAA athletes. Kiffin currently has three kids, Landry who is 14, Pressley who is 12, and Knox who is 10 and often agrees that there is a resemblance. "We get these kids for, four or five years and a lot of time they are away from home, their parents are giving them to you and a staff of assistant coaches," Kiffin said.
Advice is another important task that a fatherly figure possesses when dealing with young athletes and children. "There's a lot of advice that you can give them, one thing we teach them is to be competitive in all areas of life and not just the ones that come naturally and you like," Kiffin said. This is a point that motivational speaker Inky Johnson stressed when he was invited to talk with Kiffin's team. "Look at where you are, you're in Boca Raton, Florida. Take advantage of every opportunity you have!" Inky told the team. Kiffin aims for his athletes to succeed in whatever opportunity presents itself after school whether it is with their sport or in a job. "Being competitive in all areas of life is important, especially those that don't come as naturally."
"...one thing we teach them is to be competitive in all areas of life."
In many instances Coach Kiffin is more than just a coach to a player and more like a father figure. "I think that happens a lot, usually in unfortunate situations involving family deaths or issues in their personal life. They come to you to lean on or for advice," Kiffin said. "When you leave your office you realize that the advice that you gave them is the same that you would tell your own kid."
Just like his football players, Kiffin's favorite memories as a father thus far have to do with seeing them succeed. "With all three kids, when you see them achieve things, whether it is winning an award in school, or win a big game on the last shot...when you see that it's pretty exciting."
"When you leave your office you realize that the advice that you gave them is the same that you would tell your own kid."
To Lane Kiffin, being a good father and being a good coach go hand in hand. He strives for both his players and children to be competitive and succeed in all they do. This drive is why Head Coach Tees is glad to be partnered with Lane Kiffin and consistently aims to promote him and his foundation. Show your support for Lane Kiffin and his foundation today with our Kiffin Original Tee! Also, if you enjoyed our first feature article please leave a comment below!
Written by Ryan Liedel
Follow him on Twitter, @RyanLiedel
Special Thanks to Ella Briscoe.