Written by: Kyle Andrews – Staff Writing Intern (@)
Lane Kiffin was hired by the Florida Atlantic Owls to be their next head coach, but he still had a job to do as the offensive coordinator of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
However, after the Crimson Tide defeated the Washington Huskies 24-7 in the Peach Bowl, Kiffin vacated his position. Mind you, Alabama has a National Title Game to play for. He would be replaced by former USC head coach, Steve Sarkisian.
Kiffin would release a statement about his former job with Alabama and serving FAU as the full-time head coach on Monday:
“After going through these last couple of weeks, trying to serve the best interests of two universities as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, it became apparent that both programs would be better served by me giving all my time and efforts to being the head coach at FAU,” Kiffin said in an Alabama press release. “After meeting with Coach Saban during preparations last night and this morning, we mutually decided that it was in everyone’s best interests for the players and the program for Coach Sarkisian to take over all responsibilities as offensive coordinator for the championship game. This was a very difficult decision, but it’s a decision made in the best interests of the program. I look forward to helping Alabama win another championship, and would like to thank Coach Saban, the staff, and all the players and fans for the past three years at UA for an unforgettable time and championship run. Roll Tide!”
Kiffin was named the head coach of FAU on December 13th, but he wanted to finish the season as the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide. It became more and more difficult for Kiffin and he had to make a decision. Admittedly, Kiffin said: “I think I thought it would be easier than it was,” to the SEC Network.
The Crimson Tide won a National Championship with Kiffin as their offensive coordinator. Alabama head coach Nick Saban was grateful for what Kiffin had done during his tenure in Tuscaloosa.
“We appreciate all that Lane has done for our football program over the last three years,” Saban said in the same press release. “We sat down following the Washington game and talked about the time demands of managing both jobs, and we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.”
GoVols247.com senior writer, Wes Rucker, also felt that Kiffin may have been distracted by having two jobs at the same time.
“As soon as he accepted that job at FAU, I think that put one foot here and one foot there and that wasn’t going to fly very well with Saban,” Rucker said.
Kiffin was once the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers and just left after one season to head to the University of Southern California. Despite his shortcomings in the past, Rucker still believes that Kiffin can be successful at FAU.
“I think he’ll be able to recruit well. I think he’ll be able to get some guys who maybe academically or for other reasons weren’t a fit for power five’s. I think he’ll get them there, I think he’ll win a couple years and I think he’ll get a change to go somewhere bigger,” Rucker said.
Monday’s National Championship Game will take place at 8 P.M. on ESPN.