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Lane Kiffin to Sign Ole Miss Contract Extension After Dismissing Auburn Rumors

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2022

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - NOVEMBER 12: head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels  during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Justin Ford/Getty Images

Lane Kiffin announced Saturday that he is signing a contract extension to remain the head football coach at Ole Miss.

According to ESPN's Chris Low, Kiffin said the following about his decision: "I had a meeting with the team and the staff and told them I was staying and it would be announced after the game. I didn't want it to be about me staying before the game, but about the team."

The game Kiffin referenced was Thursday's Egg Bowl rivalry clash with Mississippi State, which the Bulldogs won 24-22.

Per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, Kiffin's contract extension is expected to be for at least eight years at an annual salary of $9 million.

Kiffin had been rumored to be a top candidate for the vacant head coaching job at Auburn, but ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Saturday that Liberty's Hugh Freeze has been in talks with Auburn "for weeks" and informally discussed a contract for the past week.

Thamel also reportedly that Kiffin's candidacy to be Auburn's next head coach "significantly cooled" over the past two days due largely to his family wanting to remain in Oxford, Mississippi.

Kiffin has had something of a nomadic coaching career, spending four or fewer seasons at each of his past six jobs, including his current position at Ole Miss.

After a six-year run as an assistant at USC, Kiffin was the head coach of the then-Oakland Raiders from 2007 to 2008, head coach at the University of Tennessee for one season in 2009, head coach at USC from 2010 to 2013, offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2014 to 2016 and head coach at Florida Atlantic from 2017 to 2019 before taking the Ole Miss job.

In three seasons at Mississippi, Kiffin has posted a 23-12 record, including a 10-3 mark last season and an 8-4 record this season. The Rebels have disappointed down the stretch, though, losing each of their past three games.

Over the course of his 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Kiffin is 85-46, finishing with a below .500 record only once. He also won a pair of national championships as an assistant at USC and one as the OC at Alabama.

While the Rebels' recent struggles have put something of a damper on their 2022 season, there is little doubt that the Ole Miss football program is in a better place than it was before Kiffin arrived.

Ole Miss finished with a .500 record or worse in four straight seasons and was coming off back-to-back losing seasons prior to his arrival.

Kiffin got the Rebels back to 5-5 in 2020 before making the leap to 10-3 in 2021 and 8-4 this season.

The 10-win season in 2021 was the Rebels' first since 2015, which ironically came under Freeze. Before that, Ole Miss hadn't won double-digit games since 2003.

Kiffin is building Ole Miss into a factor in the stacked SEC, and signing an extension should allow him to maintain that momentum over the course of multiple years.