Florida Atlantic will hire Lane Kiffin as its next head coach, ESPN’s Chris Low and Brett McMurphy reported Monday. FootballScoop can confirm the report.
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 12, 2016
FootballScoop first reported the two sides were talking shortly after Houston named Major Applewhite its new head coach on Friday, only to have talks break down as Friday night bled into Saturday morning.
However, Kiffin and the Owls reconvened and got a deal done. The deal comes as both Nick Saban and Urban Meyer pitted the FAU opening as a cog in their ongoing Cold Wars with LSU and Michigan, respectively. Kiffin was LSU’s top target to serve as Ed Orgeron’s offensive coordinator.
As is custom in the College Football Playoff era, Kiffin is expected to stay on with the Tide through their Playoff run. Luke Fickell is doing the same at Ohio State, as did Tom Herman and Kirby Smart during their respective runs.
I'm told that Lane Kiffin plans to remain as Alabama's offensive coordinator throughout the College Football Playoff.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) December 12, 2016
Florida Atlantic represents 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 last week.
Recruiting Florida will be crazy: Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, Jim McElwain, Charlie Strong, Lane Kiffin, Butch Davis, Scott Frost. Have at it.
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) December 12, 2016
In Florida Atlantic, Kiffin takes over 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.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.