Report: Lane Kiffin 'On the Verge' of Agreeing to Contract as Ole Miss HC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2019

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin looks over his team before an NCAA college football game against UCF on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Jim Rassol/Associated Press

Lane Kiffin, who was formerly the offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide, is reportedly nearing a return to the SEC. 

According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, Ole Miss is "on the verge" of agreeing to a contract with the Florida Atlantic head coach. 

ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach, Adam Rittenberg and Chris Low added that Kiffin is "finalizing" the deal, and Ole Miss hopes to announce it "as early as Saturday." 

This comes after Kiffin was seen as a candidate for multiple SEC spots. Spencer Elliott of The Tennessean noted he was "connected" to Arkansas after the Razorbacks fired Chad Morris following a 4-18 tenure, as well as to Ole Miss. The Rebels fired coach Matt Luke after he went 15-21 over two-plus seasons.

Kiffin signed a 10-year contract extension with Florida Atlantic in 2017 that lasts through the 2027 season, but Ole Miss represents an opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in college football.

The 44-year-old has become one of the biggest names in the sport after an unusual coaching career.

His first head-coaching position came with the Oakland Raiders when he was just 31 years old, but he was fired after less than two seasons and a 5-15 record. From there, he took the Tennessee job but bolted after just one year and a 7-6 record.

Kiffin's willingness to leave the Volunteers for USC so quickly drew the ire of proud Tennessee fans, and there were public demonstrations against him on campus.

He lasted less than four seasons with the Trojans before he was famously fired on an airport tarmac. It wasn't his last strange exit. His time as Alabama's offensive coordinator under Nick Saban—he joined the Tide after USC—ended when the head coach replaced him with Steve Sarkisian heading into the title game to decide the 2016 champion.

The lightning-rod coach has been with Florida Atlantic since and led the Owls to an 11-3 record and Boca Raton Bowl win in 2017 and a 9-3 record and Conference USA championship game appearance in 2019.

Ole Miss is always facing an uphill battle in a loaded SEC West that includes Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M and archrival Mississippi State, but Kiffin is accustomed to competing in the division and has been under the spotlight much of his career.

The program hasn't been to a bowl game since the 2015 campaign and is starving for the turnaround Kiffin could bring.