Ole Miss is Betting Heavily That Lane Kiffin Has Grown Up
Lane Kiffin is according to numerous reports set to be named the new head coach at Ole Miss. This would be his fourth major football head coaching job. Kiffin failed at all of his previous big jobs; is he finally mature enough to succeed on a high level? We'll find out quickly in Oxford.
After years studying under Pete Carroll as an offensive assistant and coordinator at USC, Kiffin was hired as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2007. He was just 31 years old. It was a shocking hire that puzzled many.
Hyped as a prodigy who had learned from both Carroll and his legendary father Monte, big things were expected out of Kiffin when he took over the Raiders. He washed out after less than two seasons.
A few months later, Kiffin was hired to replace the retiring Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee. Despite creating a lot of momentum and buzz in a 7-6 season, he opted to bolt back to USC to take over for Carroll.
After three-plus tumultuous seasons leading the Trojans, he was fired on a tarmac after an embarrassing loss to Arizona State during the 2013 season.
He wound up landing at Alabama where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Nick Saban for three seasons. He was never far from controversy during that time as it seemed like Saban chewed him out on the sidelines repeatedly.
Kiffin took the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic in 2017 and has done a nice job with the Owls. His tenure has been largely quiet and free from the kind of public embarrassments that dogged him at all of his previous stops. He led FAU to an 11-3 record and a conference title in 2017. The Owls went 5-7 during a rebuilding year in 2018 and have gone 9-3 this season and reached the conference title game.
Kiffin has been quiet for three years except for a few good-natured social media posts here and there. Is it possible he's actually grown and matured?
Kiffin is 44 now. The 31-year-old who publicly feuded with Al Davis is seemingly long gone. He's gone through a fairly public divorce and has had to reinvent himself as a coach far from the spotlight in Boca Raton, Florida.
Ole Miss is clearly willing to bet on Kiffin. He's always been a heck of a recruiter and it feels like he has built a solid program at FAU. Maybe we'll finally get a new, improved version of the guy who once had so much promise.