Poaching Season: Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss
Now that conference championships are finished, college poaching season is in full swing. Programs begin to seriously court their next head men in an effort to change their school’s trajectory. This season some big time jobs have already opened up..
The SEC is both an attractive and dangerous place for coaches to make their bones. On Saturday Ole Miss ended their brief search by naming Florida Atlantic Head Coach Lane Kiffin as their new coach.
Back To The Beginning
For a 44 year old coach Lane Kiffin has been well traveled in coaching circles. Over the course of his brief career he has coached the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers, USC Trojans, Florida Atlantic Owls, and coordinated for Alabama. To say that Lane as made the rounds would be an understatement.
Kiffin has a reputation as a brash and somewhat arrogant coach. Despite that, Kiffin has enjoyed little individual success. The only individual success Kiffin has enjoyed are the two C-USA titles he has won at Florida Atlantic.
Ole Miss has both the benefit and misfortune of playing in the SEC West. This places the program at the mercy of conference powerhouses like Alabama, LSU, and Auburn. While it is true Ole Miss has a wonderful tradition in Oxford, it is tough to recruit against some of the biggest programs in the nation. It has also been difficult to attract some of the better coaches as well.
Prior to Kiffin announcing he had accepted the position following the C-USA championship game, Matt Luke was the Head Coach at Ole Miss. Luke had been a bandaid choice following the firing of former coach Hugh Freeze after numerous scandals. No matter how good a coach Luke may have been, he simply didn’t possess the gravitas to attract players to Oxford.
Say what you will about Lane Kiffin but he has some charisma. He managed to turn his father’s name and his own skills into numerous head coaching gigs. He proved during his time as the OC at Alabama that he still had the acumen to craft a game plan. In addition, he proved during his stint at Florida Atlantic that he could lead a program from the depths of obscurity to relevance. He may be just the type of coach that Ole Miss has been looking for.
Ole Miss will be a perfect match for Kiffin if he is willing to embrace the challenge. His name value should immediately assist the program in recruiting efforts. His experience in the NFL ranks make him even more attractive to athletes attempting to make it to the next level. Ole Miss can provide the foundation Kiffin needs to find individual success in one of the top conferences in CFB.
In his prior gig in the SEC Kiffin bolted after only a single season. However, in that one year Kiffin had helped turn around the fortunes of a Volunteer program which had been slipping. Most importantly he made them relevant again. Simply put, Ole Miss wants to be relevant again, Lane Kiffin wants to be relevant again, this is a match made in heaven.
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