Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is the new head coach at Florida Atlantic University.
After reportedly being a candidate for the head-coaching job at Houston, as well as a potential offensive coordinator under Ed Orgeron at LSU, Kiffin is heading to a struggling Conference USA program that went 3-9 this season. FAU confirmed the hire on Tuesday after ESPN first reported the move on Monday. Kiffin's initial contract will be a five-year deal, according to FOX Sports.
At his introductory news conference Tuesday, Kiffin confirmed that he will remain with Alabama through its participation in the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide will face Washington on New Years Eve in the Peach Bowl CFP semifinal. A win there would keep Kiffin on the UA staff though the Jan. 9 title game in Tampa against the Ohio State-Clemson.
"We think this is a wonderful opportunity for him to be a head coach again," Alabama coach Nick Saban said during a Peach Bowl news conference Monday, per the Alabama Media Group. "I think FAU has selected someone that is going to do a great job for them. He's done a great job here molding our offensive players to what they can do to have the best chance to be successful and I think that's always something that's very telling about the quality of a coach."
Kiffin said he would consider retaining members of FAU's previous coaching staff, as well as bringing coaches in from UA in "enhanced roles."
The son of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant Monte Kiffin is known to be one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football. That reputation took off in his role as an assistant coach for some of USC's dominant offenses under Pete Carroll. From there, however, Kiffin's coaching career took some difficult turns. He went from being an assistant at USC to the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2007, but was fired midseason by late Raiders owner Al Davis in 2008. After a tumultuous year as head coach at Tennessee, he took the head-coaching job at USC, but was fired at midseason again in 2013.
Since then, he has rebuilt his career with three successful years as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator. Under Kiffin, Alabama has won three consecutive SEC Championships despite having a first-year starter at quarterback in each of those seasons. The Crimson Tide (13-0) is also in position to win a College Football Playoff title for the second year in a row. UA will face Washington in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in a CFP semifinal on New Year's Eve. With Kiffin calling plays, UA has averaged 471 yards per game.