Florida Atlantic in talks with Lane Kiffin to become head coach

Saturday AM Update> Sources tell FootballScoop the deal between Lane and FAU hit a stumbling block late last night. Will update when more is available.  Further update> Kirk Herbstreit has now reported the same on ESPN


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Florida Atlantic is in talks with Lane Kiffin to become their next head coach, sources told FootballScoop on Friday.

Kiffin has also been reported to be an option at South Florida (who met with Charlie Strong at length today).

Kiffin was a finalist for the Houston job that went to Cougars offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and has received serious overtures from LSU for its open offensive coordinator job, but might opt instead to run his own program.

Florida Atlantic would be Kiffin’s fourth head coaching job, following high-profile flameouts with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC, but three ultra-successful years as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama rehabbed Kiffin’s image. He helped lead Alabama to three straight SEC championships and three straight College Football Playoff trips — the Tide won last year and are heavy favorites again this year — while playing three different quarterbacks over that span, including true freshman Jalen Hurts this season. Kiffin indicated earlier this week he would like to stay on with the Tide through their Playoff run, and recent precedent (Tom Herman in 2014, Kirby Smart in 2015) dictates he would do so.

Kiffin was named a finalist for the FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year and Quarterbacks Coach of the Year awards earlier this week.

In Florida Atlantic, Kiffin would be taking over a young program looking for direction. Launched by Howard Schnellenberger in 2001, the Owls own two winning seasons in 16 tries and are coming off of three consecutive 3-9 seasons. However, the program has made significant commitments to winning under new Pat Chun and Charlie Partridge and his staff have the program ready to take the next steps.

Clearly an issue would be economics of the deal. LSU is thought to be offering to make Kiffin one of college football’s highest paid coordinators with a multi-year deal likely to be worth more than $5 million. At FAU, Charlie Partridge made approximately $600,000. Logically, one would think a hire with the name recognition that Lane Kiffin carries would allow FAU to raise additional funds allowing them to get around the $1 million annual mark; but that remains to be seen.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest as these deals are expected to play out in the next 24-48 hours.


Update> The AP is now confirming the talks.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.