Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin Announces Positive COVID Test

by Josh Lanier

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin announced Saturday that he wouldn’t travel with the team after testing positive for COVID. The Rebels face off against Louisville in Atlanta on Monday.

Kiffin posted a statement on Twitter announcing the diagnosis. It’s unknown how long Kiffin may be out. Though, he sounds optimistic about this recovery.

“I am disappointed to confirm that I have developed a breakthrough case of COVID and will not accompany our team to Atlanta,” he wrote. “I am grateful to be vaccinated and experiencing only mild symptoms. So much so, I debated over being tested, but I’m relieved that I did. I’m proud of the team’s commitment to vaccination, and as a result, are currently no other cases to report or team members expected to miss the game. We will continue to monitor our team closely and take responsible measures if any symptoms arise.

“And this too shall pass.”

Everyone on the Rebels squad got their shots. Lane Kiffin proudly reported recently that 100 percent of players, coaches, and staff received the vaccine. A goal he’s happy to help other schools reach.

“Football is competitive, coaching is competitive, the SEC is as competitive as you get, including in pro sports,” he told the New York Times recently. “This is probably the first thing where it was like, ‘OK, hey, we did this,’ and people are calling us for advice — other coaches, other trainers — and we’re openly sharing that.”

It’s an impressive feat for a school in a state with the worst vaccination rate in the country. Less than 40 percent of Mississippi residents received both shots, the Centers for Disease Control said. Alabama recently leap-frogged the state as vaccination rates there increase.

Ole Miss Leads SEC in Vaccinations

The South Eastern Conference said its schools must reach 85 percent vaccination rates or face strict COVID-19 testing. Ole Miss is the only SEC school to reach 100 percent vaccinations. Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson have exceeded the 85 percent threshold. Though Auburn hasn’t reached it, coach Bryan Harsin said. He declined to give updated information, however.

Harsin tested positive for COVID but he expects to be out of quarantine in time for the Tigers game Saturday against Akron. He also pushed back against claims he was is against vaccinations.

“There’s so much information out there,” Harsin said last month. “What we can do is educate our players on the vaccination, what that means, what the SEC is requiring as far as the numbers and those things. 

“Like I said before, this is a personal decision. I’m not going to make a comment on my situation because I wouldn’t expect our players to be asked that or our staff to be asked that, and that’s something we started a long time ago.”