To great fanfare, Lane Kiffin is back in the SEC as a head coach. Conference commissioner Greg Sankey didn’t seem overly excited about the attention the hire has already brought to Oxford.
If Ole Miss wanted to make a splash with this hire, it certainly did that. Kiffin brings baggage from his time at Tennessee and USC, but he did a great job at FAU, and has been considered one of the bigger names available.
He is reportedly upset about how things ended at Alabama, and attempted to poach some coaches from Nick Saban’s staff. If there’s anyone unafraid to upset the apple cart, it is Kiffin.
During Sports Business Journal’s Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, Sankey was asked about the Kiffin hire. His response is… less than enthusiastic.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 11, 2019
Greg Sankey on Lane Kiffin being back in the SEC: “We have high expectations for our leaders. I’ve reiterated those as I would for any new coach.” #SBJIAF
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 11, 2019
During his brief stint with the Vols, Kiffin rolled up a number of minor recruiting violations. He wasn’t ultimately hit with major sanctions, but given Ole Miss’ issues during the Hugh Freeze years, it is notable.
Kiffin replaces Matt Luke, who was probably one of the less rousing coaches in the SEC. He has deep Ole Miss roots, and was probably the right kind of person to steward the program through the post-Freeze years, but excited Ole Miss fans are calling Kiffin a return to the identity with which the Rebels have found success.
Considering a fan greeting Kiffin on the tarmac when he arrived at Ole Miss told him to “get a burner phone,” many aren’t afraid to toe the line once again.
Freeze is one of the only coaches who can say that he beat Nick Saban and Alabama twice. If Lane Kiffin can pull that off once, the college football corner of the internet may never be the same.