Lane Kiffin signed a ten-year contract extension at Florida Atlantic this week, but judging by one important point in the deal, it doesn’t seem like it should be taken as a guarantee that he’ll be at the school long-term.
According to Chuck King of OwlAccess.com, which obtained a copy of Kiffin’s new deal, much is unchanged in the new contract. That includes his base salary, though he is entitled to a number of bonuses based on performance. He’ll also receive financial bonuses if his players meet certain academic standards.
There is one point, however, that may be taken as an indicator that Kiffin’s long-term future lies elsewhere. Florida Atlantic did not alter Kiffin’s buyout clause, which stands at $2 million prior to January 2019 and a paltry $500,000 afterwards. That means if Kiffin finds a new job after next January, it will not be expensive to free him from his FAU deal.
Kiffin had been talking about a new deal for a while, and he certainly has a pretty good gig now. It’s clear, though, that he wanted to keep some leverage for himself going forward, and he has done that.
Lane Kiffin has made a habit of trolling Alabama since he parted ways with the program a week before the national championship game in 2017, and the coach is showing no signs of slowing down.
Florida Atlantic University, the school where Kiffin is now the head football coach, is set to take on Oklahoma in its first regular season game this year. Kiffin is looking forward to the challenge, and he managed to take a shot at Alabama while talking about it this week.
— Jake Elman (@JakeElman) June 13, 2018
“(Oklahoma was) No. 2 in the playoffs and Bama was 4,” Kiffin said. “According to that, you’re getting a better team than Bama, so we’ll see.”
You could make the argument that Kiffin was just trying to praise Oklahoma by saying they’re on the same level as the defending national champs, but history would tell us he was taking a swipe at his former employer. After all, this is the same guy who has dedicated stretches of time on Twitter to mocking the Crimson Tide. Even if he was just giving the Sooners their respect, doing it at the expense of Nick Saban’s team almost certainly was not a coincidence.
Lane Kiffin became a head coach in the SEC for the 2009 season with Tennessee, but he nearly got his first head coaching gig in the conference a year earlier.
During an interview with Bo Mattingly on Tuesday on “Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly,” Kiffin revealed that he was very close to becoming the Arkansas coach at one point.
Kiffin: Without giving too much detail, I was very close to becoming the head coach at Arkansas at one point in time.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) May 8, 2018
Though Kiffin did not share many details about the flirtation, it turns out that the late Al Davis did once upon a time.
According to the former Oakland Raiders owner, in late 2007, Arkansas wanted to hire Kiffin to replace Houston Nutt. Kiffin was in his first season as the Raiders’ head coach at the time. Davis told them to wait until after the season to make the move.
Knowing that there was competition for the job, Bobby Petrino ended up abruptly leaving the Atlanta Falcons towards the end of the 2007 season to take the Arkansas job and was ripped by his players.
Kiffin remained with the Raiders before Al Davis fired him early in the 2008 season, harshly criticizing the young coach in the process. Kiffin ended up landing the Tennessee job, which he left after one season in 2009. Given the way Kiffin left Tennessee, Davis was somewhat vindicated for his comments about the head coach.
After being fired by USC and then becoming an offensive coordinator at Alabama, Kiffin has now landed at Florida Atlantic, where he is building a powerhouse.
Just think: had Kiffin taken the Arkansas job, we never would have gotten the classic Petrino motorcycle scandal.
Lane Kiffin is learning an important lesson about the mean streets of Twitter.
The Florida Atlantic head coach posted a hilarious tweet on Friday, revealing that he had gotten blocked by an account that was impersonating him.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) April 20, 2018
Kiffin’s A-plus use of the monocle emoji aside, the impersonator account was created in December 2016 (the same month that Kiffin accepted his current position). It also reads “Head Coach of the Florida Atlantic University Owls Football Team” in its bio. Sporting nearly 5,000 followers, the account can sometimes make it seem convincing with generic coachspeak tweets that are tagged with a location of Boca Raton, Florida.
Congrats to @AlabamaFTBL on a hard fought win. Great job @Tuaamann_, and @JalenHurts…way to be there for your teammate. @FootballUGA isn’t going anywhere, either. Already looking forward to to the 2018 #CFB season! #NationalChampionship #BAMAvsUGA #owlsup #faufootball #KingOfFL
— Lane Kiffin (@CoachLaneFAU) January 9, 2018
— Lane Kiffin (@CoachLaneFAU) August 23, 2017
It is especially difficult to tell the difference between real life and parody when it comes to Kiffin since he has proven to be quite fond of posting troll tweets.
There has been a lot of conjecture lately over a possible Nick Saban retirement, but count Lane Kiffin as one who doesn’t see the Alabama head coach calling it quits anytime soon.
Kiffin — a former Saban offensive coordinator — thinks that Saban will be coaching another decade at Alabama.
“I really think it could be a record-type thing, this could be another 10 years,” Kiffin told 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge, via Brad Crawford of Scout.com. “Coach (Saban) is extremely healthy, he takes care of himself and you know, people are supposed to lose things as they get up there in age but he doesn’t at all. He doesn’t slow down. He drives himself — he works harder than anyone in the building, regardless of whether it’s a 25-year-old or not.
“I think him stopping would only be because… by choice he wanted, not for any other reason. He ain’t going to slow down.”
Saban is 66, but Kiffin’s comments sound a lot like another coach’s when it comes to retirement talk. He’s signed through 2025, and it sounds like everyone expects him to be there at least that long.
Lane Kiffin’s Twitter bravado knows no bounds.
Kiffin appeared to troll the Alabama football program yet again when he responded to a tweet. During Friday night’s Virginia-UMBC game, sports personality Clay Travis asked if there was a top team that was as boring to watch as Virginia.
I rescind my criticism of Auburn-Charleston. UVa-UMBC is brutal. Can y’all remember the top team in a sport that was this boring to watch?
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 17, 2018
Kiffin responded to the tweet on Saturday, saying “Hmmmm” along with a crying laughing face.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) March 17, 2018
Kiffin spent three seasons at Alabama as an offensive coach. He complained about his time there on multiple occasions, saying it was a “miserable” atmosphere. He also would have loved to open things up more offensively while with the Tide, so it’s pretty obvious he was talking about Alabama.
Kiffin sure has shown time and time and time again that he just loves to troll Bama.
Nick Saban’s decision to bench Jalen Hurts in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa at halftime of Monday night’s national championship game may have done more than just spark a comeback win for Alabama. According to Lane Kiffin, it also prevented Saban from losing Tagovailoa to another program.
Kiffin, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama from 2014-2016, told “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday that Tagovailoa would have transferred from Alabama this offseason if he did not play against Georgia.
“If this second half doesn’t flip like this, and Alabama is moving the ball and doesn’t change [quarterbacks], people that really know what’s going on would tell you that Tua was leaving,” Kiffin said, as transcribed by Nick Cole of SEC Country. “Because Tua thought that he should be the starting quarterback and had outperformed (Hurts) in practice and (Saban) never gave him an opportunity.”
Kiffin, who recruited many of the players still on Alabama’s roster, said “no doubt” when Patrick asked him to clarify that he meant Tagovailoa would have transferred. He also made a bold prediction about the freshman.
“How this second half played out changes college football, because Tua is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in college football,” Kiffin added.
Kiffin went on to describe Tagovailoa’s talent as “off the charts,” and he revealed that Alabama wasn’t upset when Jake Fromm chose Georgia over them because they liked Tagovailoa so much.
Tagovailoa rallied the Tide back from down 13-0 to win 26-23 in overtime. The way he looked off the defense on his perfect 41-yard touchdown pass in OT had to have made NFL scouts drool. When you hear Saban’s explanation for making the quarterback change, you have to wonder if it will be Hurts who decides to leave Tuscaloosa this offseason.