Criner joins his fathers
inaugural XFL coaching staff after two seasons as
defensive coordinator at Portland State University. One
of PSU coach Tim Walsh's first hires, Mark Criner began
as the Vikings safeties coach in 1993. In 1995, he
took over the linebackers and special teams duties.
Prior to the 1997 season, he was named defensive
Criner began his coaching career as a graduate assistant
at Utah State in 1991. There, he worked with the
secondary initially, then added defensive line duties in
1992. He also worked with special teams both years.
During his playing days, Mark competed as a freshman for
his father at Iowa State (1986) before transferring and
playing three years at Boise State (1988-90). While an
outside linebacker for the Broncos, he was a teammate of
Outlaws offensive coordinator Vince Alcalde.
A young coach on the rise, Mark's enthusiasm and
football knowledge were instrumental in PSU's defensive
improvement in 1997, as the Vikings were third in the
Big Sky on defense. Although the Vikings took a step
back in 1998, Criner and his defensive staff filled
several holes due to graduation, signing 11 junior
college transfer and six freshmen for the 1999 season.
Portland State climbed up to second in among Big Sky
defenses last season.
Mark, 33, and his wife Angie, also a Boise State
graduate, have a six year-old daughter, Madison, and a
three year-old son, Calin. The family resides in Las