Lane Kiffin coaching timeline: Tracking career path from USC through Alabama to Ole Miss

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As far as coaching careers go, few can mark the best highs and lowest lows skilled by Lane Kiffin.

The present head man at Ole Miss, Kiffin boasts a resume that features stops at a few of soccer’s premier applications in each faculty soccer and the NFL. But, whereas he earned these coaching alternatives, there’s a cause he has so many to his identify: Nearly everybody of his stints has concluded in controversy, from his first head coaching job with the Raiders to his time as offensive coordinator at Alabama.

MORE: Lane Kiffin’s loaded Ole Miss offense, led by Matt Corral, is ready for Alabama challenge

But to recommend Kiffin is something lower than a gifted recruiter and good offensive thoughts could be a falsehood. And regardless of his struggles as a head coach throughout a number of jobs, he does have profitable information at Tennessee, USC and Florida Atlantic — not together with his present stint with the Rebels.

Kiffin, 46, has a methods but to go in his coaching career. He has seemingly matured extra through the years, notably throughout and after his three-year cease at Alabama. Yet he has by no means misplaced the character — off the sphere, anyway — that makes him a beautiful coach for gamers and potential recruits. He’s simply as fast to drop an emoji or “rat poison” quip on social media as he’s to dial up an audible that leads to a landing.

With that, Sporting News takes a take a look at Kiffin’s winding coaching career, which began on the West Coast within the NFL and has ended up, for now, in Oxford, Miss.:

Raiders and the NFL

Seasons coached: 2007-08
Final document: 5-15

The late Al Davis employed Kiffin, then 31, to be the top coach of the Raiders on Jan. 23, 2007. The transfer made Kiffin, most not too long ago USC’s passing recreation coordinator and offensive coordinator, the youngest head coach in NFL historical past for the reason that begin of its fashionable period in 1946. It additionally made him the youngest coach in Raiders historical past, as he was a 12 months youthful than John Madden (32) was when he was promoted to the place in 1969. Kiffin signed a two-year contract value $4 million, with a group choice in 2009.

Kiffin’s stint in Oakland was marred from the start: According to a number of experiences, he opposed the Raiders deciding on LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell No. 1 general, which Davis ignored. After beginning the season 0-2, Kiffin gained his first recreation as a head coach on Sept. 23, 2007, beating the Browns 26-24 after a late blocked subject aim. He adopted up with a 35-17 win over Miami the next week earlier than dropping his subsequent six straight. He gained two extra video games in Weeks 12 and 13 towards the Broncos and Chiefs, respectively, however completed his season with 4 straight losses to go 4-12 in Year 1.

ESPN reported in January 2008 that Davis tried to power Kiffin to resign after the 2007 season, which might have voided his $2 million wage for the following season. The Raiders denied the story, and Kiffin refused to touch upon it. On Sept. 30, 2008, Davis fired Kiffin following a 1-3 begin to the season. He known as the coach “a flat-out liar” and stated he was responsible of “bringing disgrace to the organization”. The Raiders additionally acknowledged his firing was made for trigger, which means they have been off the hook for paying the rest of his wage. Among the proof the Raiders offered towards Kiffin was a letter claiming he was on the verge of being fired for conduct detrimental to the group.

Kiffin filed a grievance towards Oakland, saying he was fired with out trigger; a third-party arbitrator, nevertheless, dominated within the Raiders’ favor. With that, Kiffin completed his first coaching job with a 5-15 document and over a season and alter.


Seasons coached: 2009
Final document: 7-6

Kiffin was launched as Tennessee’s head coach on Dec. 1, 2008, making him the youngest coach within the FBS at 33 years previous. He coached the group to a 7-6 document — an enchancment from the earlier 12 months’s mark of 5-7 — and elevated the group’s offensive output from 372.5 yards and 27.8 per recreation in 2008 to 401.5 yards and 32.5 factors per recreation in 2009. He earned one ranked victory over No. 21 South Carolina, profitable 31-13, and coached the Volunteers to a slim 12-10 defeat towards top-ranked Alabama, which wanted two blocked subject objectives to win the sport.

That stated, Kiffin’s tenure was nonetheless marked by controversy, together with a mistaken accusation towards then-Florida coach Urban Meyer that he known as a recruit whereas on Tennessee’s campus. Kiffin made the accusation in entrance of a crowd, inadvertently breaking an NCAA rule that prohibited him from talking publicly about recruits. He was reprimanded by the SEC and compelled to launch a press release of apology.

Following a 37-14 loss to Virginia Tech within the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Kiffin left his group in the course of the 2010 recruiting season to take over his dream job at USC following Pete Carroll’s departure to the Seattle Seahawks. Adding to the unhealthy blood between Kiffin and Tennessee was the very fact he tried to take midterm enrollees with him to USC.

On the night time he learn a press release saying he would depart Knoxville for Los Angeles, Kiffin was pressured to barricade himself in his workplace till police escorted him house at 4 a.m. Fans and college students began a number of small fires over Kiffin’s resolution, even blocking exits from the Neyland Thompson Sports Center.

MORE: Who is Matt Corral? Meet Ole Miss star QB main Lane Kiffin’s offensive juggernaut


Seasons coached: 2010-13
Final document: 28-15

Kiffin took over the Trojans program — whom he had coached beneath Carroll from 2001 through 2006, together with nationwide championship seasons in 2003 and ’04 — on Jan. 12, 2010. Six months later, the NCAA cited USC for an absence of institutional management beneath Carroll, levying a two-year postseason ban and lack of 30 scholarships over three seasons.

Kiffin led the Trojans to an 8-5 document in 2010 with solely 71 scholarship gamers. The following season, he coached them to a 10-2 document. Due to their postseason ban, nevertheless, they have been nonetheless ineligible to play within the Pac-10 championship recreation regardless of having the South Division’s greatest document by far. The 2012 season was significantly much less profitable for Kiffin, who led the Trojans to a 7-6 document regardless of being ranked No. 1 within the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll to begin the season.

Regarding the Coaches Poll that 12 months: The 2012 season was the primary 12 months during which Kiffin was eligible to vote, although he shortly resigned that proper after deciding on his group because the nation’s preseason No. 1 group. The concern was not how he had voted, however that he claimed “I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that much” when knowledgeable Rich Rodriguez of Arizona had voted them atop his ballot.USA Today revealed that Kiffin had, in reality, carried out simply that.

Regardless, his group completed unranked on the finish of the 12 months, marking the primary time since USC in 1963 {that a} group began the season ranked No. 1 however completed exterior the highest 25.

Kiffin solely lasted 5 video games into the 2013 season, coaching his group — which finally completed 10-4 — to a 3-2 begin to the season. That included an 0-2 begin in Pac-12 play. The ultimate straw was a 61-42 loss to Arizona State that gave Kiffin a 4-7 document in his final 11 video games. Once his group returned house from Tempe, Ariz., Kiffin was pulled off the group bus at Los Angeles International Airport at 3 a.m. on Sept. 28. He was taken to a small room within the terminal and knowledgeable by athletic director Pat Haden that he had been fired.


Seasons coached: 2014-16
Final document: N/A

Following his exit from USC, Kiffin spent per week in Tuscaloosa in December reviewing Nick Saban’s offense. He finally changed Doug Nussmeier because the group’s offensive coordinator in January 2014, creating an offensive renaissance in Tuscaloosa.

Though Kiffin’s arrival didn’t mark a big enhance in scoring or offensive output from 2013 to 2014, he did assist implement a extra open, faster-paced offense that the Crimson Tide proceed to use. Under Kiffin’s tutelage, Alabama produced a Biletnikoff Award in Amari Cooper (2014), Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award winner (Derrick Henry) and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2016). He additionally helped coach the Crimson Tide to a nationwide championship in 2015, his first since USC’s second of two titles in 2004.

Kiffin’s stint at Alabama wasn’t freed from controversy, both. In a Week 2 win over Western Kentucky, Kiffin was the thing of Saban’s disapproval after the offense fumbled the ball, main to a late Hilltoppers rating. Saban — who known as it an “ass-chewing” after the sport — reportedly reacted to Kiffiin saying, “dumb players make dumb plays.”

Later within the season, Kiffin agreed to turn into the subsequent head coach at Florida Atlantic, pledging to stay with Alabama through the College Football Playoff. Following a 24-7 victory over Washington within the semifinal, nevertheless, Saban relieved Kiffin of his duties, although he stated the choice was mutual. The Crimson Tide would use Kiffin’s former co-offensive coordinator at USC, Steve Sarkisian, to name performs towards Clemson within the nationwide championship recreation.

Alabama misplaced its first recreation of the season, 35-31.

MORE: Matt Corral vs. Bryce Young: Comparing Ole Miss, Alabama QBs’ stats in early Heisman battle


Seasons coached: 2017-19
Final document: 26-13

Florida Atlantic was the primary coaching cease of Kiffin’s that didn’t finish in important controversy. After beginning his first season in 2017 with a 1-3 document, Kiffin’s Owls reeled off 10 straight wins to go 11-3, profitable the Conference USA title. Kiffin led this system not solely to its second-ever convention championship (the primary was in 2007), but additionally a school-record 11 wins. It was the primary season of 10 wins or extra within the faculty’s historical past.

The group took a big dip in 2018, going 5-7, earlier than Kiffin led the group to a 10-3 document and convention championship once more in 2019. Following his group’s victory over UAB within the convention championship recreation, nevertheless, Ole Miss introduced Kiffin would take over the Rebels program. Kiffin didn’t coach the group in its Boca Raton Bowl victory over SMU.

Ole Miss

Seasons coached: 2020-present

Following the Owls’ win over UAB within the 2019 Conference USA championship recreation, Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter confirmed Kiffin could be the group’s subsequent head coach. His group went 5-5 within the COVID-shortened 2020 season, however featured shut losses to No. 5 Florida (35-31) and No. 1 Alabama (63-38) and a 26-20 win over No. 11 Indiana within the Outback Bowl.

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