Lane Kiffin to Florida Atlantic is official.
Kiffin, 41, was introduced as the Owls 5th head coach on Tuesday morning.
“You don’t get what you want,” Kiffin said. “You get what you deserve.”
Surely this isn’t where Kiffin pictured his career going at this point. Kiffin is, after all, the person who held three of the more high-profile head coaching jobs — Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and Southern Cal — before the age of 40.
But given the reported lack of other offers, Kiffin got what he deserved in a rebuilding situation at Florida Atlantic. The Owls finished each of the last three season with a 3-9 mark. There’ll be no overflowing shelf of 5-star prospects like Kiffin enjoyed during his three years in Tuscaloosa.
“To do the impossible, you must see the invisible,” Kiffin said of the task at hand.
Lane Kiffin will make $950,000 per year at FAU. Buyout after 1 year is $2.5 million. Goes down $500,000 each year.over 5 years.
— FAU OwlAccess (@FAUOWLACCESS) December 13, 2016
Kiffin said he wanted to bring Nick Saban’s famed “Process” to Boca Raton, but he mostly kept things light during his introductory news conference. Kiffin joked about what he’ll have to sell to recruits at Florida Atlantic compared to Alabama and other places he’s worked.
“We got that sunshine right there, I know that,” Kiffin said, laughing. “Those palm trees, that’ll help. And that beautiful stadium.”
— FAU Athletics (@FAUOwlAthletics) December 13, 2016
Saban said Kiffin will in Tuscaloosa and serve as offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff. Saban said there is no timetable for replacing Kiffin after the playoff.
“Lane’s done a phenomenal job for us for the last three years,” Saban said Monday. “We appreciate the impact that he’s made on this program. We think that this is a wonderful opportunity for him to be a head coach again.
“I think FAU has selected someone that is going to do a great job for them. He’s done a great job here molding our offensive players to what they can do to have the best chance to be successful. I think that’s always something that’s very telling about the quality of a coach.”
Kiffin and Alabama are back in the College Football Playoff for the third straight season after winning their third consecutive SEC championship. No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl semifinal in Atlanta on Dec. 31. Ohio State and Clemson will meet in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal in the late game on New Year’s Eve.
“As grateful as we are for this opportunity, it was very important to go finish what we started there (at Alabama) and the commitment to those players that were there, and how hard they have worked throughout the process to get to this point to be in the final four,” Kiffin said. “It’s time to go finish that.”
When filling out his staff at Florida Atlantic, Kiffin plans to speak with the current coaches at FAU, high school coaches in South Florida as well as some current Crimson Tide staff members.
“That is definitely a possibility,” Kiffin said. “Obviously we’ve got some great coaches at Alabama in roles where they can come here in enhanced roles. That’s definitely an option.”
Lane Kiffin said it's "definitely a possibility” he brings some coaches from #Alabama.. I've heard analyst Charlie Weis Jr may be one of em.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 13, 2016
Despite reports and rumors, Kiffin said he would have been back in Tuscaloosa next season had he not accepted this head coaching job. We’ll never know if that is true or not.
Kiffin said he loved his time at Alabama, and added that going to Florida Atlantic provided him with a “unique” opportunity. He has a lot of family and friends in Florida. Kiffin noted that “90 percent” of his kid’s relatives live in Florida.
Kiffin thanked Saban for giving him an opportunity when “my phone was not ringing very much at the time” after he was fired by Southern Cal. He said the biggest thing he learned from Saban was to not make the same mistakes you’ve made before.
Kiffin told reporters he and Saban have a great relationship no matter what is portrayed in the media.
“As he (Saban) says, I get ass-chewings from time-to-time,” Kiffin said. “I’ve learned to accept those.”
Hopefully Saban and Kiffin will produce some more memorable sideline moments during the playoff.