Dave Fipp joined the Lions coaching staff in 2021 as the special teams coordinator after spending eight seasons (2013-20) with the Philadelphia Eagles in the same role. He has spent more than 20 seasons coaching between the collegiate and NFL levels combined. Fipp began his coaching career in 1998 as the special teams coordinator at Holy Cross. After two seasons at Holy Cross, he was a graduate assistant at Arizona before stints at Cal Poly (2001-03), Nevada (2004) and San Jose State (2005-07) working in defensive coordinator roles.
In Fipp's first season in Detroit, his unit was among the best in the NFL. Despite all NFL teams being a combined 9-for-56 (16.07%) on onside kicks attempts, the Lions were the only team with multiple onside kick recoveries, leading the League with three in 2021. The team's three-of-nine (33.33%) conversion rate marked the most successful onside kick recoveries the Lions have had in a season since at least 1997, when the data began to be tracked.
Fipp's first NFL experience came with the San Francisco 49ers from 2008-10, where he helped P Andy Lee rank third in the League in gross punting yards (12,069), gross punting average (47.1) and net punting yards (10,147) in that span. Lee earned Pro Bowl honors in 2009 after leading the NFC in gross punting yards (4,711), gross punting average (47.6) and net punting yards (4,056). Fipp went on to work with the Miami Dolphins in a similar position coaching special teams from 2011-12.
After earning the special teams coordinator position with the Eagles in 2013, Fipp's unit ranked first in Rick Gosselin's Dallas Morning News special teams ranking in just Fipp's second season as coordinator. The Eagles special teams group finished first in the NFL with a league high of seven special teams touchdowns during the 2014 season.
With Fipp's oversight between 2013-19, the Eagles ranked second in the NFL in special teams touchdowns (12) and total blocks (18). During that time span, the Eagles returned four kickoffs for touchdowns, four punt returns for touchdowns and four blocked punt returns for touchdowns. Additionally, they registered 11 blocked punts and seven blocked kicks.
The Eagles had many standouts on special teams during the 2019 season. LS Rick Lovato earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2019 after helping K Jake Elliott reach a career-high 84.6% FG percentage and P Cameron Johnston produce top 10 finishes in gross (46.4, 9th) and net (42.3, 8th) punting averages.
Prior to exceptional contributions in 2019, Fipp helped Johnston have a strong 2018 campaign, in which he set single-season team records in both gross (48.2) and net (42.7) punting averages, while ranking third and fourth in the NFL in each category. Fipp had a helping hand in guiding Elliott to a memorable rookie season in 2017, when Elliott converted the longest regular-season (61 yards) and postseason (53 yards) field goals in franchise history. Elliott also kicked the longest field goals (42, 46 yards) by a rookie in Super Bowl history that season in Philadelphia's Super Bowl LII victory.
Fipp played an integral role in helping return specialist, Darren Sproles, earn two consecutive Pro Bowl berths for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In 2014, Sproles earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career after leading the NFL in punt return average (13.0), punt return yards (506) and punt returns for touchdowns (two). In addition to helping Sproles' breakout campaign in 2014, rookie K Cody Parkey recorded a historical kicking season amongst all-time Eagles rookie en route to Pro Bowl honors. Parkey (150 points) broke Kevin Butler's NFL rookie record and the Eagles all-time record for points scored in a single season, while finishing second in the League in scoring. LS Jon Dorenbos completed the trifecta for Eagles specialists who earned Pro Bowl honors in 2014, earning himself a bid as well under Fipp's coaching.
Sproles followed up the 2014 season by again earning the crown as the League's leader in punt return yards and touchdowns in 2015. The Eagles special teams unit posted the second-highest punt return average (11.4) in the League and added three touchdowns in 2015.
Fipp began his coaching career in 1998 after a playing career at Arizona. A four-year letterman and former walk-on, Fipp played for the Wildcats from 1994-97. He was a leading tackler on special teams as a sophomore in 1995 and started at safety during his final two years with the Wildcats. The Wildcats defense finished as one of the top defensive units in the Pac-10 Conference and ranked 12th nationally in rushing defense.
Raised in San Diego, Calif., Fipp and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters, Ashlee and Lilly, and a son, Tyler.