BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Lane Kiffin leaves Florida Atlantic. Someday.
Owls do not live in fear of it being soon.
Kiffin imagines having many of the things that sports directors and search committees in Florida State, Central Florida, Arkansas and, yes, even Tennessee, would like, since they are looking for home run coaches at this time. He is still young. He has charisma. He is a superior recruiter. He learned from some of the best games like Nick Saban and Pete Carroll.
And in just one year, he took Florida Atlantic from 3-9 to 10-3 and a Conference USA championship.
"I try not to worry about the things I can not control, just because of my personal sanity," said FAU athletic director Pat Chun. "Our last coach left the program better than he found it, which was good, specifically for the quality of the young men he recruited here, Lane is building this program in a place he had never seen before. the market, call, and we'll cross that bridge when the time comes. "
Kiffin earns just under $ 1 million a year at FAU. In the world of coaching, it's a bargain. Jimbo Fisher has just left the state of Florida for a 10-year, $ 75 million contract at Texas A & M. Almost all athletic directors in the Football Bowl Subdivision have deeper pockets and a larger checkbook than Chun have to play in FAU.
But even Kiffin will be the first to say that he has loved his year in the FAU. And that has to be worth something. His father is in his staff. Your brother is your defensive coordinator. His children helped throw a bucket of water to his uncle in the final moments of the FAU's 41-17 victory over North Texas in the C-USA title game. And when the issue of the biggest rumors and jobs factory comes up, Kiffin just laughs.
"I'm immature and all those things, but life is very short," Kiffin said. "It's good to have fun."
That's another valid point to keep in mind when thinking about where Kiffin might be in 2018 or 2019 or beyond.
FAU has been fun.
His three years in Alabama as Saban's offensive coordinator were not always fun. The Crimson Tide won a lot, almost every week, but he always had the feeling that he and Saban were never particularly close. It was not uncommon to see Saban berating Kiffin on the bench, and even last year, when `Bama won his third consecutive SEC title, it seemed to some that Kiffin would not be welcome this season. After obtaining the FAU job, he did not train the Tide national championship game.
Winning the title on Saturday, however, was a moment that Kiffin savored. He said all the right thing: he thanked the fans, said that it was about his players, and that he meant every word. But he is also clearly appreciating success more now than he might have allowed in the past.
"It's been very clear to everyone here: love Boca, love Florida Atlantic, love our student athletes and know that we have a dynamite team that will return next year," Chun said. "I would also argue, I have the feeling that he really enjoys training this team, for a man who has been at the highest levels and in the biggest media markets, it has to mean something."
Chun also believes that the presence of Kiffin in the spotlight has shone in FAU "has changed the university".
To be fair, the university also changed for him. The Owls invested a ton of money when they made the rent; The $ 950,000 from Kiffin is more than what Charlie Partridge did as head coach, and the set of salaries for the attendees deepened considerably. Kiffin brought a strength coach that he liked about Alabama, which was huge. And the Owls even did little things like buy many more blenders, because Kiffin wanted the players to have more protein shakes.
The result: FAU is a 10-win team for the first time at the FBS level, and the Owls are receiving more national attention than ever.
"He knew right away that it is a brand for him and that he has followers throughout the country because he has had a long career in the center of attention," Chun said. "The attention we have received in the last eight weeks is a by-product of Lane being Lane, in addition to him doing an incredible job as a coach, because if we were not winning, the attention would be very different."