TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban said he is pleased offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin earned the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic University.
“Lane’s done a phenomenal job for us for the last three years,” Saban said. “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.”
Saban said Kiffin will stay here and serve as offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff. Saban said there is no timetable for replacing Kiffin after the playoff.
Saban is no stranger to having his assistants poached for head coaching jobs and coordinator positions. Current Georgia coach Kirby Smart finished the College Football Playoff run last season as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator before making the jump to Athens.
Kiffin’s contract with Alabama is up after this season. He originally signed a three-year deal.
Kiffin has been a head coach for three high-profile franchises. Kiffin’s first head coaching job came with the Oakland Raiders. He was the youngest coach in the history of the NFL at the time.
Shortly after, Kiffin bolted from the NFL to the SEC to become the head man at Tennessee. Kiffin’s stint there didn’t last long. He left after one year to become the coach at USC.
Kiffin infamously was fired at an airport terminal. After a brief time off, Kiffin became the offensive coordinator at Alabama.
With Kiffin controlling the offense, Alabama has won three consecutive SEC championships and one national championship. The Crimson Tide are heading back to the College Football Playoff for the third straight season with Kiffin at the helm of its offense.
Kiffin has helped Alabama to the playoff with three quarterbacks, including freshman Jalen Hurts this season.
Before the SEC Championship Game, Saban had high praise for Kiffin when asked if he was ready to be a head coach again.
“I think he’s proven when he was a head coach, he had a reasonably good amount of success,” Saban said. “Much more than I think he gets credit for. He’s done a phenomenal job in the three years that he’s been with us relative to taking the players that we’ve had and actually molding a system, especially for the quarterback to be successful in.
“I think those are signs of tremendous maturity of a coach who is not just committed to a system, but committed to doing the things that he has to do to help players be successful.”