HC, Lane Kiffin, responds to rumours about his plans to step down as the Rebels coach Friday and head to Auburn to become the Tigers next head coach.
Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin is expected to be the next head coach of the Auburn Tigers, reports indicated on Monday night.
Jon Sokoloff of WCBI in Columbus, Miss., was the first to report the news. According to Sokoloff, Kiffin plans to step down on Friday following the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State to become the next head coach on The Plains.
Earlier Monday afternoon during his weekly press conference, Kiffin had voiced how happy he was in Oxford, and seemed to indicate his intent to stay.
“I think they know how we operate, and they’ve been in this before,” Kiffin said on Monday. “They don’t even ask. I don’t know what else to say. I’m extremely happy here. The difference in where this program is compared to three years ago, and we feel like we have really good support. I can get up here and give the ‘Pine Box’ speech and ‘I’m not going to be the next head coach at Alabama.’ I can give you those things. I don’t know what those mean. Been here three years and have been fortunate enough to have three different contracts. I don’t know why a fourth contract makes people feel better. Like I said, we’re very appreciative of everything here.”
“I mean, I don’t know what else to say,” Kiffin told local reporters during his weekly press conference in Oxford, Miss. “I’m extremely happy here, like we just talked about. The difference of where this program is now compared to three years ago, and I feel that we have really good support. I mean, I can get up here and give you whatever it was—the ‘pine box’ speech and, ‘I’m not going to be the next head coach at Alabama.’ I can give you those things, and so, I don’t know what those mean. I don’t know what else to say.”
Kiffin was, of course, referencing Tuberville’s notorious comments 24 years ago when he was head coach at Ole Miss, shortly before taking over at Auburn. At the end of the 1998 season, Tuberville was asked about leaving for another job, to which he said, “they’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box.” Less than a week later, Tuberville was named the head coach at Auburn.
The other reference Kiffin dropped was regarding his former boss at Alabama. In 2006, Saban was still with the Miami Dolphins and was repeatedly questioned about the opening at Alabama after the Tide fired Mike Shula at the end of that season. On Dec. 21, 2006, a little more than three weeks after the Alabama job came open, Saban infamously said, “I guess I have to say it: I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Two weeks later, Saban left the Dolphins to take over at Alabama.
Kiffin’s name has been linked to the Auburn job since before the Tigers fired Bryan Harsin on Halloween, and buzz surrounding the 47-year-old coach has only grown louder in recent weeks, with multiple reports indicating he has been the top target of new Auburn athletics director John Cohen. Another report surfaced late last week that Ole Miss offered Kiffin a new contract that would make him among the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country if he remained in Oxford.
So, there you go.
It will be interesting if Kiffin does end up leaving Ole Miss for Auburn. Technically, he didn’t say he’s 100 percent staying at Ole Miss. But he says that the report that claims he’s already made a decision is wrong.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State are scheduled to play on Thursday evening.
Will it be the final game of the Lane Kiffin era on Thanksgiving night? Sokoloff is the sports director for WCBI News (CBS affiliate) in Mississippi. He’s a trusted source in the region and an award-winning journalist. Can we verify that he’s right with this? Absolutely not. But Kiffin has been rumored as a candidate for the Auburn job for a while.
Soon after that report, Kiffin tweeted a picture that showed he’s pretty locked in on the rivalry.