SEC Can’t Get Rid of Lane Kiffin That Easily, He’s Fully Committed to Ole Miss Despite Job Opening

by Suzanne Halliburton

Lane Kiffin is the toast of the Grove, probably the whole state of Mississippi, too. He says he’s not going anywhere. Yet.

So about all those rumors about Lane Kiffin skipping away from Ole Miss to Southern California, the coach wants you to know he’s staying put.

“I’m fully committed to where I’m at,” Lane Kiffin told reporters this week. “This is a wonderful place. I love the people here. Anytime we get attention like that, it’s just a credit to our players and what they’re doing.

“I’m just totally focused on our program here,” he added.

Kiffin pulled from the coach-speak chapter on job speculation. Of course, he’s only focused on the next game. Ole Miss is headed to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa to play top-ranked Alabama. According to oddsmakers, the Crimson Tide is a 14.5 favorite.

But with Lane Kiffin, he’s always at the center of attention. This time is for his team’s play on the field. Ole Miss scores an average of 52.7 points per Saturday. That’s the best in the country. So is the offense’s yard per game, with 635. If you prefer a good defensive game, maybe you should look elsewhere Saturday. Last year’s contest — Kiffin’s first while at Ole Miss — the teams combined for 111 points. It probably helped that Kiffin used to be Bama’s offensive coordinator.

For Lane Kiffin, USC Is All About the Tarmac

So why is Lane Kiffin and his future linked to a job opening at Southern Cal. Well, he’s a hot name in coaching searches circles. And USC is looking for a replacement for Clay Helton. The school fired Helton in mid-September.

And here’s why Lane Kiffin could shun USC. Or conversely, why USC could say no to the whole idea of Kiffin. For Lane Kiffin, he’s already been there, done that, and got fired. About this time eight years ago, USC athletic director Pat Haden was so displeased after the Trojans lost to Arizona State, he terminated Kiffin. And he didn’t wait for an in-office meeting. After the loss to the Sun Devils, the team and staff flew home. At 3:14 am, Haden called Lane Kiffin, as the team bus was being loaded on the tarmac at LAX.

Kiffin now is 46. He’s rebuilt his career. Alabama’s Nick Saban helped him by hiring Kiffin as his offensive coordinator. Kiffin helped win a national championship with the Crimson Tide. He jumped back into the head coaching ranks with Florida Atlantic, where he enjoyed a 27-13 out of the national spotlight.

In three years at Florida Atlantic, he had a 27-13 record. He then took over at Ole Miss for the 2020 season and now has his team at 3-0 and ranked 12th nationally.

Lane Kiffin may eventually take a job somewhere else. Are Kiffin and the Trojans permanently divorced? Paul Finebaum, the noted SEC guru, called Ole Miss “a fun program … capable of getting to the top.”

“Can it stay there as long as Nick Saban is around? I just think Lane knows that there was unfinished business in SoCal.”