Florida Atlantic handed Lane Kiffin a 5-year, $4.75 million contract upon his hiring as head coach and then extended him through 2027 after leading the Owls to a Conference USA championship in his first season on the job, but a previously undisclosed detail shows just how serious the school is about keeping the 43-year-old in Boca Raton.
Included in Kiffin’s original deal was a clause that called for the school to grant Kiffin a $2 million home loan that he would not have to repay should he remain FAU’s head coach through the 2021 season. According to Owl Access, which first reported on the clause, Kiffin purchased a $2.1 million home in northeast Boca Raton last May.
The 2021 season would be Kiffin’s fifth at Florida Atlantic.
“The intent was, let’s put a package together that Lane’s happy with and he’s comfortable with and something that we can afford,” FAU president Dr. John Kelly told Owl Access. “We obviously can’t pay what some larger schools can pay. But if we’re creative we can come up with a strategy that makes him happy, gives him what he needs to be successful and also, hopefully, helps us retain him for a longer period of time.”
The terms of the clause call for FAU to forgive 20 percent of the loan with each passing year. Should Kiffin leave after the 2018 season, he would need to repay FAU $1.2 million of the loan in addition to his $750,000 buyout.
Just out of curiosity’s sake, here’s exactly what $2.1 million can get you in Boca Raton, according to Zillow.
How about a 4,988-square foot, five bedroom, seven bath house right on Lake Wyman?
Or how about this ultra-modern 3,000-square foot, two bedroom condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and downtown Boca?
Once the $400,000 in annual loan forgiveness is included, Kiffin’s $1.35 million base compensation package makes him the highest-paid coach in C-USA, surpassing the $991,000 North Texas pays Seth Littrell and the $1.137 million UTSA pays Frank Wilson.
“I’m not driven by money anymore,” Kiffin told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in May. “I’m not driven by ego, of the attention being a head coach at one of those places. I’m very happy here on all fronts. The only drive is when you do see Kirby [Smart], you see Coach [Nick] Saban walk out on that field before the game, the national championship, holding that trophy. It’s the drive of, OK, I get to play against the best, let’s see if I can beat the best. It’s different. That would not be what I would have answered even five years ago. Because your ego — once you get rid of that, you have different motivations.”