Fair’s cornerbacks played a role in helping the Rams’ defense post six halves of shutout football in 2016, including the Rams’ first shutout game since 1997, holding Fresno State scoreless on Nov. 5. Senior Tyree Simmons capped his career by leading the team with six pass breakups and ranked fifth on the team with a career-high 44 tackles. Fair guided steady improvement from his unit throughout the season, as the Rams’ defense improved from an average of 261.5 passing yards allowed per game through the first four games of the season to an average of 155.0 over the final eight regular season contests.
In his first season with the Rams, Fair helped coach a defensive backfield that allowed just 177.6 passing yards per game, a figure that ranked 10th among all FBS schools and second among Mountain West members in 2015. The Rams’ defense also ranked 26th in the FBS in third-down percentage defense (34.5%).
Fair spent 2013 and ‘14 as the defensive quality control assistant at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Prior to that, he began his coaching career at Phoenix College, where he sent four defensive backs to Division I schools to continue their collegiate careers.
The native of Phoenix, Ariz., was a four-year starter for UT from 1994-97, where he was a two-time All-SEC honoree in his final two seasons and played on the Vols’ 1997 SEC championship team. Fair, who earned SEC All-Freshman honors in 1994, is tied for seventh on Tennessee’s all-time list with 30 passes defended (19 PBU, 11 INT).
Fair went on to be drafted in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, No. 20 overall, by the Detroit Lions. He played six seasons with the Lions (1998-2001), Carolina Panthers (2002) and St. Louis Rams (2005), accumulating 215 tackles, one sack, seven interceptions and one fumble recovery in 60 games (48 starts). Fair scored five touchdowns in his career, two each by kickoff return and interception return, and one by fumble return. For his career Fair averaged 24.3 yards on 111 kickoff returns (2 TDs) and 6.9 yards on 50 punt returns.
In his rookie season with the Lions, Fair racked up 39 total tackles, including one sack, and led the NFL in kickoff return average with a career-best 28.0 average on 51 returns. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, including an NFL-best 105-yard effort on Monday Night Football vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 28, 1998. Fair earned NFL All-Rookie and first-team All-NFL honors from The Sporting News and the Pro Football Writers’ Association, and was selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl.
Fair and Colorado State wide receivers coach Alvis Whitted both entered the NFL in the 1998 Draft and played against one another in one game. On Dec. 6, 1998, Whitted’s Jacksonville Jaguars defeated Fair’s Lions 37-22 in Jacksonville. Fair made four tackles in the game while Whitted was credited with one rushing attempt for -1 yard.
Before joining the Tennessee coaching staff Fair was co-host of a Knoxville, Tenn., sports talk show called “The Drive” on WNOX. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tennessee in 2010 through the athletic department’s Renewing Academic Commitment program.
Fair played at Tennessee during the same four-year span that Bobo played quarterback at SEC rival Georgia.
Fair and his wife, Sherlone, have three children, Herandre, Delon and Ariyah.