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January 10, 2014
Lane Kiffin named Alabama's new OC
The University of Alabama football program has hired Lane Kiffin as its offensive coordinator. UA confirmed the hire on its official Twitter feed on Friday afternoon.
The 38-year-old Kiffin replaces Doug Nussmeier, who took the offensive coordinator job at Michigan after two seasons at Alabama.
"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 a released statement. "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."
Saban said Kiffin is a welcome addition to the staff.
"We are excited to have Lane join our staff," said Saban. "He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level. 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 is no stranger to the Southeastern Conference, having served as Tennessee's head coach in 2009. He went 7-6 in one season before being hired away to Southern Cal, where he coached from 2010 until Sept. 2014 when he was fired. He compiled a 28-15 record as the Trojans' head coach.
His coaching career has had its share of ups and downs, including a tumultuous 20-game stint with the Oakland Raiders (2007-08) and his abrupt departure from Tennessee (2009) after one eventful season.
As the Volunteers head coach, Kiffin, 33 at the time, created waves with brash behavior and statements, one of which resulted in a public reprimand from Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive after Kiffin accused then-Florida coach Urban Meyer of breaking NCAA recruiting rules. Kiffin apologized to Meyer and Florida but controversy continued to follow him.
His offensive accumen, though, has never been questioned.
As an assistant at Southern Cal in 2005, the Kiffin-led Trojans offense averaged 49.1 points and 579 yards per game. USC's lone loss that season came in a thrilling BCS National Championship Game to Texas. That offense featured a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and a 1,000-yard receiver. Quarterback Matt Leinart, who completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,815 yards and 28 touchdowns. Running backs Reggie Bush rushed for 1,740 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns) and LenDale White had 1,302 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns. Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett recorded 1,274 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Kiffin is also regarded as one of the nation's top recruiters.
The Alabama offensive staff won't be a getting-to-know-you period. Kiffin spent a week with the Crimson Tide coaching staff in December, evaluating UA's offense. With three-year starter AJ McCarron gone, Kiffin might be just the person to help tutor a young quarterback.
Saban spoke highly of him when asked about the visit.
"Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him," Saban said. "Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit to get some professional ideas with our guys is a really positive thing."
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.