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Lane Kiffin resigns at FAU to take Ole Miss job

Third-year Owls head coach headed back to SEC

Lane Kiffin questions a call by referees during the first half of the 2019 Conference USA Championship, Dec. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Florida.
Lane Kiffin questions a call by referees during the first half of the 2019 Conference USA Championship, Dec. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Florida. (Cassidy Schuck/WPLG)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Lane Kiffin is leaving Boca Raton and heading to Mississippi.

Shortly after Florida Atlantic won the Conference USA championship, athletic director Brian White announced Saturday that the third-year Owls head coach has resigned.

“Coach Kiffin deserves our thanks and a great deal of credit for continuing to build our football program to high levels of success,” White said in a statement on FAU’s athletic website.

The University of Mississippi then announced that Kiffin will be its next football coach. Kiffin will be introduced at a Monday afternoon news conference.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” athletic director Keith Carter said in a statement. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss football to a championship level.”

The announcement comes after the Owls won their second C-USA championship in three seasons under Kiffin, defeating UAB 49-6 at FAU Stadium.

FAU Owls head coach Lane Kiffin speaks to his team during a break in the first half of the Conference USA Championship, Dec. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Florida.
FAU Owls head coach Lane Kiffin speaks to his team during a break in the first half of the Conference USA Championship, Dec. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton, Florida. (Cassidy Schuck/WPLG)

FAU won the 2017 C-USA title in Kiffin’s first season with the Owls.

Kiffin replaces Matt Luke as Rebels head coach.

Luke was fired after three seasons at his alma mater.

Kiffin went 26-13 in three seasons at FAU and 61-34 overall as a head coach. His previous stops include Tennessee and Southern California.

Before coming to FAU, Kiffin was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2014-16. He was relieved of play-calling duties after accepting the FAU job and didn’t get to coach during the Crimson Tide’s run to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Taking over at a Southeastern Conference Western Division school ensures Kiffin of annual meetings with his former boss. Saban is 18-0 against former assistants at Alabama.

“Winning in Paradise” was the tagline for the Kiffin era at FAU, but there hasn’t been much winning at Ole Miss in recent years.

Kiffin faces a tall task inheriting the only SEC West team to never play in the conference championship game.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join the Ole Miss family and recognize this as a special opportunity to lead Rebel football into the future,” Kiffin said in a statement released by the school.

White said defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will serve as interim coach for the Owls, who are awaiting their bowl destination.

“A national search will begin immediately," White said. "I know there will be a great deal of interest in the position. We have an extremely talented roster returning with an established culture of success. There are outstanding facilities here with the new Schmidt Family Complex about to open and recent renovations to FAU Stadium. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our football program.”