The rumors of Lane Kiffin-to-Houston were pretty intense for a while. And while the Cougars ultimately hired another former Alabama offensive coordinator in Major Applewhite, Kiffin seemingly confirmed that the rumors about how close he was to becoming the next Houston coach were not inaccurate.
Kiffin, who ultimately ended up being hired as the next head coach at FAU, visited with Evan Cohen on ESPN Radio West Palm on Tuesday. During their chat, the topic of interviewing for the Houston job was brought up, and the Crimson Tide OC opened up about weighing Houston and FAU jobs at the same time.
“Yeah, we were very close at the same time,” Lane Kiffin said of the Houston job. “And there had not been a decision made that I would go there over here. I really felt, talking with Florida Atlantic, when I went into the first meeting, I was not feeling I knew it was a job I’d take. I came out of there saying, ‘OK, yes it is.’
“In coaching, jobs aren’t all about the facilities or the weight room or the location. The jobs, especially again with maturity and age, you realize the job is about the people making the decisions, the board, president, athletic director, and what direction they want to go. Are they really committed to football? … I felt that here for sure in the meeting. I was very excited coming out of the meeting. I had not made the decision, of the two places, where I would go if I had both offers.”
Houston was in the market to replace Tom Herman, who left the Cougars to take the head coaching job at Texas following the season.
Kiffin, who will stay with Alabama as offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff, took a pay cut from $1.4 million to $950,000 for a fourth opportunity to be a head coach at 41 years old. He previously coached the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans.