A veteran of 38 years in coaching, Mark Duffner has served the past seven seasons as the linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Duffner joined the Jacksonville staff in 2006 following three seasons in the same capacity for the Green Bay Packers. Duffner just completed his 16th season of coaching in the NFL, and he previously served 22 years coaching on the college level including 11 seasons as a head coach.
Duffner was tasked with teaching two new starting linebackers for the Jaguars in 2012, with two of the previous year’s starters missing, and the results were impressive. Russell Allen was groomed as a first-time full-time starter alongside veteran Paul Posluszny, and Kyle Bosworth and rookie Julian Stanford combined for 11 starts opposite Allen. Posluszny broke the franchise single-season record with a career-high 231 tackles, adding three interceptions and two sacks, and Allen posted a career-best 201 tackles while starting all 16 games for the first time. It marked the first time in Jaguars history that two players made 200 or more tackles, and to date three of the franchise’s top four seasons in terms of individual tackles were made by Duffner-coached linebackers. Daryl Smith, the team’s all-time leading tackler, played in only the final two games of the 2012 season because of injury.
While with the Packers, Duffner helped develop 2003 first-round draft pick Nick Barnett. Green Bay's defense finished the 2005 season as the seventh-ranked defense in the NFL (1st against the pass) and Barnett set the team record with 194 tackles and became the first Packer to lead the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons. In 2004 the Packers defense led the NFL in red zone defense, allowing only five conversions in 21 third-down attempts.
Duffner entered the NFL coaching ranks with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent six seasons as linebackers coach (1997-2000) and defensive coordinator (2001-02). In 2001 the Bengals defense allowed the unit’s fewest points since 1989 and fewest yards per game since 1983. In addition, the defense set a franchise single-season record for sacks that year with 48.
Prior to joining the Bengals staff, Duffner was head coach at the University of Maryland from 1992-96. He posted a 20-35 overall record that included an 11-11 mark over his final two seasons, the school's best two-season record since 1984-85. Duffner helped the Terps achieve their first national ranking in nine years when the club ranked as high as No. 17 in 1995. In addition to the success on the field, Duffner improved Maryland's player graduation rate, with three classes in a row ranking among the nation's best (1994-96).
Duffner also served as head coach at The College of Holy Cross (1986-91) where he compiled a 60-5-1 mark that included two 11-0 seasons (1987, 1991) during his six years. He was named national coach of the year five times while at Holy Cross and 'New England Coach of the Year' five times, and his 1987 Holy Cross team was ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division I-AA by the Associated Press. Duffner initially served as defensive coordinator at the school from 1981-1985. He was inducted into the College of the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame in May of 2008.
Duffner's coaching career began as a graduate assistant under Woody Hayes at Ohio State (1975-76) where he earned a master’s degree before serving as defensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati (1977-80).
Duffner played defensive line at William & Mary (1972-74) and was later inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1990. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children, daughters Christina and Carolyn and son John.
COACHING BACKGROUND: Ohio State 1975-76, Cincinnati 1977-80, Holy Cross, 1981-91 (head coach 1986-91), Maryland (head coach) 1992-96, Cincinnati Bengals 1997-2002, Green Bay Packers 2003-05, Jacksonville Jaguars 2006-13.