Lane Kiffin’s move to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic is one of the surprises of the postseason but the veteran head coach isn’t beyond springing a surprise of his own in the coaching carousel.
Kiffin told several reporters on Friday evening that he has hired Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles for the same position in Boca Raton.
There was some question as to whether Briles would be able to find another offensive coordinator position after the recent sexual assault scandal at Baylor resulted in the firing of his father Art prior to this season. While the younger Briles was not directly named by law firm Pepper Hamilton, what exactly he knew about went on is not completely known and the coach has been rather vocal on social media about supporting his father in recent months.
Instead he lands in a very interesting spot down in South Florida looking to repair his image just like his new boss is aiming to do. The Baylor offense is not exactly the same system that Kiffin has run at Tennessee, USC or Alabama but it should be fun to see what kind of results it can produce given some of the athletes that the Owls will be able to recruit.
Lane Kiffin being hired by FAU may have been one of the more surprising developments in this recent round of the coaching carousel, but it is clearly an opportunity Kiffin is embracing. Already having made one of the more controversial recruiting moves in his first few days on the job, Kiffin is also looking to help support the school’s scholarship fund by encouraging fans to buy season tickets.
In a letter to FAU fans on Friday, Kiffin committed to making a donation to the university’s scholarship fund for every season ticket sold by the university. With attendance being a notable problem for a number of college football programs, including at FAU, finding new ways to give an incentive to buy tickets is always needed. How many fans decide to buy tickets as a result of Kiffin’s pledge to donate to the scholarship fund remains to be seen. It is also unknown how much Kiffin was planning to donate per season ticket.
But every little bit helps, right?
The hiring of Kiffin has brought a new buzz to the FAU program, something that was desperately needed following three consecutive three-win seasons.
Lane Kiffin had reportedly targeted a former Alabama quarterback prior to being hired by Florida Atlantic. For now, he’ll have to settle for a former one from Florida State.
Tuesday, FAU officially announced the hiring of Kiffin as the Owls’ new head coach. A day later, 247Sports.com is reporting, Kiffin has his first signee as East Mississippi Community College quarterback De'Andre Johnson has put pen to paper with FAU.
The recruiting website currently has Johnson ranked as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country for JUCO prospects. Johnson was a four-star member of Florida State’s 2015 recruiting class who left the Seminoles under a cloud of controversy.
In June of last year, Johnson was indefinitely suspended by FSU after being accused of punching a woman at a bar. He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery as video of the incident emerged.
One day after the video surfaced, Johnson was dismissed.
Johnson will be eligible to play for Kiffin immediately at FAU. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
And there you have it.
Reports that first surfaced late last week and came to a boil Monday have been confirmed, with Florida Atlantic confirming that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has been named as the fifth head football coach in the program’s history. Kiffin replaces Charlie Partridge, who was fired after guiding the Owls to three consecutive nine-loss seasons.
A 10 a.m. ET press conference has been planned to officially introduce Kiffin.
This will mark Kiffin’s fourth stint as a head coach, and his third at the collegiate level. After a tumultuous tenure as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders that began in 2007 unceremoniously ended after just four games in 2008, Kiffin took over at Tennessee in 2009 for what proved to be a one-and-done on Rocky Top.
Three-plus seasons at USC ended after the fifth game of 2013 when Kiffin was pulled off the team bus at Los Angeles International Airport and dismissed. During his time with the Trojans, Kiffin had posted a 28-15 record.
Including his time with the Vols, Kiffin has a career mark of 35-21 at the collegiate level.
Kiffin is in the midst of his third season at Alabama. It’s expected he’ll remain with the Crimson Tide through the end of their playoff run.
Lane Kiffin was apparently putting in some work for FAU even before anyone really knew he was a candidate for the job.
While there’s been nothing official yet from the school, all signs and reports are pointing to the Alabama offensive coordinator being named as the head coach at Florida Atlantic at some point in the not-too-distant future — specifically, at an expected press conference as early as Tuesday morning. Last week, even before reports connecting Kiffin to FAU first surfaced, Kiffin was reportedly looking to add a quarterback with whom he’s very familiar.
Blake Barnett withdrew from Alabama in September with the intention of transferring. A little over two months later, the former five-star quarterback recruited by the Crimson Tide coordinator took the next step in the process, committing to Arizona State Dec. 6. According to al.com, though, Kiffin, through an intermediary, attempted to get Barnett to flip to FAU.
A coach expected to be part of Kiffin’s FAU staff reached out to Barnett last week and told him that they want Barnett to be their quarterback at FAU, a source told AL.com.
That said, and at least for now, Barnett plans to honor his pledge to the Sun Devils. Here’s to guessing, though, that Kiffin won’t give up his pursuit until Barnett puts his Herbie Hancock on his ASU paperwork.