Saturday Update: The deal is now official.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” AD Keith Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”
The Rebels announced the deal shortly after Kiffin’s FAU team won the Conference USA title game. He will be introduced at 2 p.m. ET on Monday.
Friday Update: Sources tell FootballScoop a deal is in place to bring Lane Kiffin to Oxford.
Ole Miss is nearing a deal to make Lane Kiffin its head coach, according to a report Friday night from Neal McCready of Rebel Grove.
The hiring would represent a dramatic return to the SEC for Kiffin, who spent one action-packed season as Tennessee’s head coach in 2009 and three ultra-successful seasons as Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2014-16.
Kiffin is currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, where he went 11-3 with a Conference USA championship in 2017, 5-7 in 2018 and now sits at 9-3 with a chance at a second C-USA title waiting on Saturday. As such, a deal is not expected until after the Owls complete their regular season.
Kiffin’s previous stints in the SEC saw him tumble down and then climb the coaching ladder.
In 2009, he picked fights with Urban Meyer and Nick Saban as he attempted to ignite a Volunteer brand that had stagnated in the later years of the Philip Fulmer era. After leading the Vols to a 7-6 season (and closer-than-expected losses to Florida and Alabama), he bolted for USC.
Pushed out at USC after the 2013 season, Kiffin was apparently headed for a time out of coaching until Saban hired him to coordinate Alabama’s offense.
Kiffin’s three seasons in Tuscaloosa the Crimson Tide to three SEC championships with three different players at three different positions (WR Amari Cooper, RB Derrick Henry, QB Jalen Hurts) winning the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award.
As per his reputation, Kiffin left Alabama spectacularly. Having accepted the Florida Atlantic job in December of 2016, Saban released Kiffin from his staff in between Alabama’s Peach Bowl semifinal and the national championship game. Under Steve Sarkisian’s offensive direction, the Tide would then lose the title game to Clemson, 35-31.
Kiffin will inherit an Ole Miss program in a state of transition. Hugh Freeze resigned in the summer of 2017, and Matt Luke was retained full-time after leading the Rebels to a 6-6 record amid a bowl ban. Luke went 5-7 and 4-8 in 2018-19 and fired after the regular season. Keith Carter was named Ole Miss’ full-time AD on Nov. 22, and Dr. Glen Boyce named the university’s chancellor on Oct. 7.
Multiple sources telling me tonight Lane Kiffin to Ole Miss is as close to a done deal without being official as is possible. At this point, I expect an announcement Sunday.
— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) December 7, 2019
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.