Alabama makes it official -- Lane Kiffin is hired
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Jan 10, 2014 | 2496 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Tennessee and Southern California coach Lane Kiffin. Photo: Wade Payne/Associated Press
Former Tennessee and Southern California coach Lane Kiffin. Photo: Wade Payne/Associated Press
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TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama has hired Lane Kiffin as its new offensive coordinator, according to a news release from the school.

Kiffin, 38, a former head coach at Tennessee and Southern California, will serve as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

In a news release distributed by the school, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the Tide is “excited” to have Kiffin on staff.

“He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level,” Saban said. “He has a very good understanding of the game and I have always been impressed with what I saw in the games he called.

"He coaches with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and also does an excellent job as a teacher. Lane will be an outstanding addition to our coaching staff and we look forward to him and his family joining us at the University of Alabama.”

Kiffin spent the last 3½ seasons as the head coach at USC, where he compiled a 28-15 record. He was fired five games into the 2013 season after going 3-2, including 0-2 in the Pac-12 Conference.

He led the Trojans to a 10-2 record in 2011 and a sixth-place finish in the final Associated Press poll. His 2011 USC offense produced a 3,500-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher. Before Kiffin’s arrival, the Trojans were averaging 26.5 points a game in scoring offense and 389.1 yards a game in total offense. In his first two seasons, those numbers increased to 31.0/431.5 in 2011 and 35.8/456.8 in 2012.

Kiffin already has some recent exposure to the program. Saban invited Kiffin to Tuscaloosa in December to evaluate the Crimson Tide's offense as Alabama went through workouts for the Sugar Bowl.

“We want to thank the University of Alabama and Coach Saban for this tremendous opportunity, and we feel humbled and honored to be a part of the Crimson Tide family,” Kiffin said in the release. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has done with his programs. Having the unique opportunity to be here last month, I was able to meet some of the great players and the great people in the organization, and I’m very excited to start working with them.

"We’ve seen the passion and support of the Alabama fans firsthand, and when that’s combined with the storied history and tradition of the program, this is a very special place to coach.”

Kiffin served as the head coach at Tennessee in 2009, leading the Volunteers to a second-place finish in the SEC East and an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Kiffin came to Tennessee from the Oakland Raiders, where he served as head coach for 20 games from 2007-08. He was fired four games into the 2008 season.

Before his first head coaching job, Kiffin spent six years as an assistant coach for Pete Carroll at USC, including two years as the offensive coordinator (2005-06).

The 2005 team had a 3,000-yard passer (Matt Leinhart), two 1,000-yard rushers (LenDale White and Reggie Bush) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Dwayne Jarrett).

He took over as USC’s offensive coordinator in 2005 and led the Trojans to a scoring average of 49.1 points a game and 579.8 yards a game of total offense during his two years as offensive coordinator. Kiffin started at USC in 2001 as the tight ends coach and then coached the wide receivers during his remaining five years.

“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said in December when Kiffin was in Tuscaloosa. “Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit to get some professional ideas with our guys is a really positive thing.”

Kiffin will replace Doug Nussmeier, who recently accepted the same position at Michigan. Alabama announced Nussmeier's departure Thursday.

According to the university, all such employment contracts are subject to approval by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.
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