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Monte Kiffin Cowboys new DC


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By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Three days after firing Rob Ryan, the Dallas Cowboys have hired Monte Kiffin as their new defensive coordinator, according to sources.

Kiffin, who turns 73 in February, resigned as Southern Cal's defensive coordinator last month after spending four years on his son Lane's staffs at USC and Tennessee. He spent 26 years as an NFL assistant coach, including a 13-year run as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator before returning to college football in 2009.

When he left the Trojans he cited a desire to return to the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys Hire Monte Kiffin

Only 11 men have had the label of Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator since 1960. How many can you name?

The Buccaneers finished in the top 10 in total defense and scoring defense in 11 of Kiffin's 13 years and won the Super Bowl in 2002. He was one of the architects of the Tampa-2 system that many teams employ today and was able to build his defenses around Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, John Lynch and Simeon Rice.

Kiffin will have to re-tool a defense that has been in a 3-4 scheme since 2005 and might lose outside linebacker Anthony Spencer to free agency.

He will also likely have to re-work the coaching staff. Defensive line coach Brian Baker, linebacker coach Matt Eberflus, secondary coach Jerome Henderson and assistant secondary Joe Baker are all under contract but, according to sources, will have to re-interview to remain and have been granted permission to speak with other teams.

Ryan was fired Tuesday after a two-year run. The Cowboys finished 19th in the NFL on defense and allowed a franchise-record high 5,687 yards and forced a franchise-record low 16 turnovers. The defense was hurt by injuries, losing Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick for significant parts of the season.

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