Ole Miss officially names Lane Kiffin as new head coach

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Graphic Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
  • Story by SportsTalk Mississippi Ole Miss Beat Reporter Brian Scott Rippee

Ole Miss has officially named Lane Kiffin its next head football coach, according to a release from the school.

On Friday, SuperTalk reported that athletics director Keith Carter met with Kiffin in Boca Raton, Florida on Thursday evening and that the two sides were nearing a deal. The deal was finalized on Friday and the school announced it Saturday afternoon.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said in a statement. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”

Kiffin posted a 26-13 mark in three seasons as head coach of Florida Atlantic. He and the Owls won the Conference USA Championship for the second time in three years on Saturday with a 49-6 trouncing UAB.

Kiffin rejuvenated his career in at Florida Atlantic after flameouts at USC, single-season at Tennessee and a tumultuously brief stint with the Oakland Raiders. He spent the three previous seasons as the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban. Kiffin arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2014 with his career having hit rock bottom. He was fired midway through his fourth season at USC following a 62-41 loss to Arizona State. He was 28-15 as head coach of the Trojans. Kiffin accepted the job at USC 2010 after one 7-6 season at Tennessee. Kiffin’s first head coaching gig came in 2007 when he was named the head coach of the Oakland Raiders at 31 years old, making him the youngest NFL head coach since 1946. He was fired four games into his second season with a record of 5-15.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join the Ole Miss family, and recognize this as a special opportunity to lead Rebel Football into the future,” Kiffin said via a release. “I am especially grateful to Keith Carter, Chancellor Boyce and the entire Ole Miss family for their trust and confidence. Our staff and I will work tirelessly to recruit and develop successful players for this program, and I look forward to producing many exciting memories to add to Ole Miss’ storied football legacy. I am excited to get to Oxford and begin the groundwork of building a championship program that Mississippi’s flagship university deserves, and I’m thrilled to be back in the greatest athletics conference in the nation. Hotty Toddy!”

Last Sunday, Ole Miss fired former head coach Matt Luke after a 4-8 record in his third season that ended with a 21-20 loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Luke served as interim head coach in 2017 after Hugh Freeze resigned in shame and was awarded the full-time gig after going 6-6. He inherited a program on NCAA probation and recruited through scholarship reductions his first two seasons.

Kiffin’s hiring marks the first major hiring of Carter’s career. Carter took over as permanent athletics director on November 17 after serving as interim AD for six months in place of Ross Bjork, who departed for the same position at Texas A&M in May. Carter led a deliberate and concise search that bucked a trend of the university botching searches that often ended down the hall.

Kiffin is the 39th coach in program history.

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