Florida Atlantic to Hire Lane Kiffin as Head Coach
ESPN’s Chris Low and Brett McMurphy reported Monday that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has agreed to become the next head football coach at Florida Atlantic.
The two sides has reportedly been in negotiations since last Friday. Discussions stalled, but they finally came to an agreement on Monday morning. Financial terms and length of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but it is safe to say the highly sought-after coach will not come cheap for FAU.
Kiffin plans to remain with Alabama during the upcoming College Football Playoff, though that idea was reportedly met with skepticism by some within the program. The Crimson Tide own the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and will face fourth-ranked Washington in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on New Years Eve. The winner will face either Clemson or Ohio State in Tampa on January 9th.
Kiffin had reportedly been a finalist for the University of Houston head coaching job before they decided to promote offensive coordinator Major Applewhite last week. He was also in the running for the offensive coordinator post at Louisiana State under Ed Orgeron.
The opportunity at Florida Atlantic will be Kiffin’s first head coaching chance since a tumultuous tenure at Southern Cal from 2010 until 2013. He led the Trojans to a 10-2 overall record in 2011, but the school was banned from postseason play that year as a result of the scandal involving Reggie Bush.
Kiffin has effectively rebuilt his reputation during his stint as OC at Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won three consecutive SEC championships with Kiffin on the staff, and they are seeking their second straight national title.
He has helped build a dynamic offense despite having to groom three first-year starting quarterbacks in his three seasons in Tuscaloosa. He is thought by many to be one of the most progressive young offensive minds all of football.
Kiffin will have his work cut out for him at Florida Atlantic. The Owls went just 3-9 this past season and fired head coach Charlie Partridge in November. Partridge posted a 9-27 overall record in his three seasons at the helm. FAU has not enjoyed a winning season since 2008 when they went 7-6 under Howard Schnellenberger.
What is FAU getting from Kiffin?
This will be Kiffin’s fourth head coaching job. In addition to USC, he spent time as the coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2007 until 2008. He also spent one season at Tennessee in ‘09 before controversially fleeing for USC. In all, Kiffin has a record of 40-36 as a head coach. He is now 41 years old, while each of his other three head coaching opportunities came before he turned 35.
His father, Monte, is a longtime NFL defensive coordinator who currently works in the Jacksonville Jaguars organization.
Kiffin’s name will give FAU some serious legitimacy as far as recruiting goes. The state of Florida is loaded with top-notch recruiters, such as Florida’s Jim McElwain, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Miami’s Mark Richt and new South Florida head man Charlie Strong.
Florida Atlantic did not start playing football until 2001 under Schnellenberger.
However, it did not take the school long to become a legitimate football program, as they earned a bid to the 2007 New Orleans Bowl on the heels of an 8-5 overall record and a Sun Belt crown. It was just the seventh season in the school’s history and their third in Division 1, which made the program the youngest in history to earn a bowl invitation.
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