Denny and Kristi LaFleur, the parents of new Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, both have coaching backgrounds. In fact Kristi LaFleur’s father was also a coach.
The Packers announced on January 8, 2019 that LaFleur, 39, would replace Mike McCarthy as the Packers’ permanent head coach. He was signed to a four-year contract. LaFleur was the Titans offensive coordinator. He was offensive coordinator in Los Angeles and quarterbacks coach in Atlanta previously, according to NFL.com.
At his first press conference as Packers coach, LaFleur grew emotional and stressed how much he loves his family. A reporter asked the best advice his dad gave to him. “That I better not cross my mind,” LaFleur joked. His parents, wife and sons were in the audience.
If the past is an indication, Packers’ fans should expect to see Denny and Kristi LaFleur in the stands during games. Matt LaFleur was just 39 when he was named Packers’ coach, so his parents are still relatively young.
Here’s what you need to know about Matt LaFleur’s mother and father:
1. Denny LaFleur Is a Teacher & Coach in Michigan
The LaFleur family has deep roots in Michigan, and that’s where Matt LaFleur’s parents still live, and it’s also where he was raised, in a town called Mount Pleasant. The town is located in central Michigan, and it has a population of just over 26,000 people.
In that community, Denny LaFleur is well known.
According to The Tennessean, Matt LaFleur’s parents are named Kristi and Denny LaFleur, and his father, Denny, played linebacker for Central Michigan, helping the team win a 1974 Division II national championship. Kristi was a cheerleader. MLive.com calls Matt LaFleur “the son of former CMU assistant coach Denny LaFleur.”
Denny LaFleur’s LinkedIn page says he was a teacher and coach in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan from 1998 to present. He has a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Michigan.
Denny LaFleur “was a Central Michigan assistant for more than two decades before coaching and teaching at Mt. Pleasant High,” reports the L.A. Times. Denny “lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife of 30 years, Kristi. He is a physical education teacher at West Middle School,” a short bio for CMUChippewas.com read.
On Father’s day, Matt’s wife BreAnne posted a photo collage that included Matt and his dad, Denny, writing, “Happy Father’s Day to the main men in my life!! I am beyond blessed because of the impact you have all made on me!! I can’t thank you enough for everything you do for me and my boys!!!”
2. Kristi LaFlaeur Has Coached Competitive Cheerleading
Denny LaFleur is not the only coach in the family. Kristi is a coach too. Kristi has worked as a competitive cheer coach, a teacher, and a softball and basketball coach. According to the LA Times, Kristi “also taught and coached track and cheerleading” in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Matt is a native of Mount Pleasant, Michigan who earned a 2003 bachelor’s degree in physical and health education from Saginaw Valley State and a 2011 master’s degree in science in administration from Central Michigan, reports Und.com.
According to the Tennessean, Mike LaFleur, Matt’s brother, joked that their parents’ home family wall resembles Meet the Fockers because it’s filled with “family memorabilia and achievements.”
3. Kristi’s Loyalties Have Been Divided at Times Because the Couple’s Other Son Is Also an NFL Coach
Matt LaFleur is not the only LaFleur son to go into coaching in the NFL. Matt’s younger brother, Mike LaFleur, is also a coach in professional football. According to PackersWire, “His brother, Mike, is the wide receivers and passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers.” That team is coached by Kyle Shanahan, referred to by PackersWire as “Matt’s old friend.” Mike LaFleur has been with San Francisco for two seasons.
According to The Los Angeles Times, her two sons’ coaching careers have divided Kristi’s loyalties at times. “Kristi LaFleur couldn’t decide which son to represent when Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and San Francisco 49ers receivers coach Mike LaFleur meet in an NFC West matchup,” The Times reported in 2017.
She came up with a solution. She created T-shirts with a new name “The San Angeles Rammers,” according to The Times.
Kristi recalled how they wrestled each other growing up. “It drove me crazy!” she told The Los Angeles Times. Matt LaFleur is the older brother of the pair. Today the brothers remain close, often talking on the phone, the Times reports.
4. Matt LaFleur’s Grandfather Was a Coach Too
There is a long legacy of coaching in Kristi LaFleur’s family tree.
Kristi LaFleur’s maiden name was Barringer and her dad, Bob Barringer, “coached football at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in the 1960s and ‘70s,” The Tennessean reports. “My first date with Kristi,” Denny told the newspaper, “I was breaking down 16-millimeter game film with her dad.”
A lengthy biography of Bob Barringer, who died in 2010 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, says that he “coached several sports teams over the years, but his greatest passion was in coaching football. He served as the head football coach at Loy Norrix High School from 1964 through 1973. Bob loved working with the players not only teaching them the ins and outs of the game, but also promoting team unity. Later in life, Bob became a member of SAGES, a fraternity of football coaches.”
That site describes Barringer’s family this way at the time of his death: “Bob Barringer of Kalamazoo died on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at the Isabella County Medical Care Facility. Bob’s family includes his wife Jean, 3 children: Kim (Maureen) Barringer, Kristi (Denny) LaFleur, and Kairi (Rob) Hokenmaier, 5 grandchildren: Matt (BreAnne), Mike (fiancée Lauren) Jason, Ali, and Mikelyn.” Mike and Lauren later married.
“Bob was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where his father worked at Upjohn and his mother worked at Gilmore’s Department Store. It was during his formative years that Bob developed the great sense of humor that remained with him throughout the rest of his life. He attended local schools and was active in sports including football at Kalamazoo Central,” the life story explained.
The life story also documents his interest in football, revealing, “Bob predominantly taught physical education, but he also taught driver’s education and some math classes at times. In addition to teaching, Bob also coached several sports teams over the years, but his greatest passion was in coaching football. He served as the head football coach at Loy Norrix High School from 1964 through 1973. Bob loved working with the players not only teaching them the ins and outs of the game, but also promoting team unity. Later in life, Bob became a member of SAGES, a fraternity of football coaches.”
5. Matt LaFleur & His Wife, BreAnne, Have Made His Parents Grandparents
Matt LaFleur’s wife BreAnne LaFleur is a former pharmaceutical rep. They are parents to two children named Luke and Ty.
A 2012 article for MLive.com said that, at that time, Luke was 17 months old and explained that LaFleur had to work during a Thanksgiving holiday but that BreAnne and Luke would “spend the holiday with family in Michigan, keeping an eye on the Redskins. LaFleur said he’ll get a chance to Skype with his family for a couple minutes before heading to the stadium.”
By 2014, they also had a newborn – Ty. Matt LaFleur’s Twitter page still describes him as “Tennessee Titans, Offensive Coordinator; Awesome wife, great sons ???.”