Kiffin had been engaging in back-and-forth talks with the Conference USA school since last Friday, sources said. At one point, negotiations between the two sides stalled, but a deal was struck early Monday morning, sources said.
Saban said Kiffin has done a “phenomenal job” in his three years as offensive coordinator at Alabama. We think this is a wonderful opportunity for him,” Saban said.
He’s done a great job here.Kiffin will remain Alabama’s offensive coordinator throughout the College Football Playoff, Tide head coach Nick Saban confirmed Monday, similar to what former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart did last season after taking the Georgia head-coaching job.
Kiffin’s contract with Alabama was set to expire after this season, and he wasn’t expected to return, helping to explain why he made a hard push to find a head-coaching job even if it meant a step down in prestige and most likely a pay cut.
Lane appreciates the opportunity Nick Saban gave him and feels good about everything Alabama accomplished during his three years there, but he was at a point in his career where he was ready to go prove that he could be a head coach again, Kiffin’s salary at FAU will average in the $1 million range annually, according to sources.
He was making $1.4 million per year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.
One of the finalists for the Houston head-coaching job, which went to Major Applewhite last week, Kiffin takes over an FAU program that went 3-9 this past season.
He replaces Charlie Partridge, who was fired in November after going 9-27 in three seasons at the Boca Raton, Florida, school. Kiffin was also being pursued by new LSU head coach and friend Ed Orgeron to be the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
But Kiffin wanted to keep all of his options open, including going back to the NFL. Considered by many to be one of the top offensive minds in the game, Kiffin has also generated his share of controversy in his career, giving some athletic directors and presidents around the country cause for concern about his ability to manage a program. But Saban said last week that he was confident that Kiffin is ready to be a head coach again.
This will be Kiffin’s fourth different head-coaching stint. He was the Oakland Raiders’ head coach for the 2007 season and part of the 2008 season before being fired by Al Davis, the late Raiders owner. He went to Tennessee as head coach in 2009, but he then bolted for USC after just one season in Knoxville.
A former assistant at USC under Pete Carroll, Kiffin was the Trojans’ head coach from 2010 to ’12 and then fired five games into the 2013 season by then-USC athletic director Pat Haden. At USC, Kiffin inherited a program under severe NCAA sanctions. He was 35-21 at Tennessee and USC and 5-15 with the Raiders. He landed all three head-coaching jobs before the age of 35.