Lane Kiffin was close to becoming Arkansas coach in 2008
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.