Oregon HC Dan Lanning Denies Auburn Buzz: 'The Last Thing I Ever Want to Do Is Leave'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 8, 2022

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 5:  Head coach Dan Lanning of the Oregon Ducks looks on from the sideline in a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 5, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Dan Lanning has no plans to use Oregon as a steppingstone.

The Ducks head coach offered an extended denial of rumors he'd be interested in taking the Auburn head coaching position Monday, telling reporters Oregon "has everything I could possibly ever want."

Brandon Marcello @bmarcello

Oregon’s Dan Lanning was asked about a fan blog affiliated with Sports Illustrated reporting “mutual interest” between him and Auburn.<br><br>Lanning’s initial response — shaking his head in disbelief — is what you’d expect.<br><br>Media literacy is important, even in the silly world of CFB. <a href="https://t.co/YKKSGwAHZZ">pic.twitter.com/YKKSGwAHZZ</a>

"First off, I'll say things like this are gonna come up when you have team success and when you do your job and things go the way they're supposed to go. That's credit really to our team. That being said, I think there's a little bit of a problem in society today with people looking for what's next and where there's an opportunity, and the reality is the grass is not always greener. In fact, the grass is damn green in Eugene, right? And I want to be here in Eugene for as long as Eugene will have me.

"This place has everything I could possibly ever want, my family could ever want. I've got an 11-year-old that's lived in eight states. The last thing I ever want to do is leave. I want to enjoy this opportunity here. It's been a phenomenal place for us. And when you talk about things that align, things that match your vision for what you're looking for as a head coach, Oregon checks every box for me.

"I think history maybe shows that this is a great place to be and not a great place to leave. I want to be here. Hopefully, that's the last time I have to really address it. But the reality is this is a destination, not just for me, but for elite players. And why is it a destination? Because reat administration, great fans, great support, and it's a good reason to be here and why we're having the success we're having."

Oregon has seen its last two coaches (Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal) use the program to boost their resumes before leaving for what they perceived as better jobs (Florida State and Miami, respectively). Taggart lasted less than two seasons at Florida State before being fired, and Cristobal is 4-5 in his first season at Miami.

Lanning, meanwhile, is 8-1 in his first year in Eugene with a shot at making the College Football Playoff. The Ducks recovered from an ugly 49-3 loss to Georgia to open their regular season to reel off eight straight wins, scoring 40-plus points in each contest.

Lanning came to Oregon after working his way up from a high school special teams coach to being Georgia's defensive coordinator from 2019 to 2021, winning a national championship with the Bulldogs last season.

The combination of Lanning's age (36) and history in the SEC makes him a natural target for Auburn, which fired Bryan Harsin on Halloween.

While the program will have little trouble finding interested parties, the Auburn job isn't strong at the moment. The Tigers haven't won 10 games since 2017 and are looking into an uncertain SEC future that includes the impending additions of Texas and Oklahoma. By 2025, Auburn may be the seventh- or eighth-best job in the SEC.

By contrast, Oregon is the pillar of the Pac-12—especially with USC and UCLA set to join the Big Ten.