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To find the next head football coach for the Ducks, Oregon sugar daddy Phil Knight is rumored to be sniffing around the SEC. Though former coach Chip Kelly is a popular name in the rumor mill, Knight is apparently interested in buying a one-way ticket for the Lane Train — as in, current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
“Have heard from two Pac-12 sources that Phil Knight is interested in the Lane Train,” said Pac-12 Hotline’s Jon Wilner in a tweet.
Have heard from two Pac-12 sources that Phil Knight is interested in the Lane Train. Don't know if anything will come of it but an interesting slice of the search https://t.co/cL4gvPkL3g
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) December 9, 2021
Wilner added: “(I) don’t know if anything will come of it but an interesting slice of the search.”
After watching prominent programs like LSU and cross-town rival USC land big names and plenty of buzz with their recent coaching hires, the Ducks need a splash. Kiffin’s the kind of guy who would attract the national spotlight, 5-star recruits and wars between Fox Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff and ESPN’s College GameDay over who gets the better location for their pregame TV show.
It’s easy to see why Oregon would likely jump at the chance to bring Kiffin to Eugene. The real question is whether the Lane Train would have an interest in heading west. Ole Miss, which finished the regular season 10-2, had been paying Kiffin $4.5 million per season. On Saturday the Rebels bumped his salary to $7.5 per year through the 2025 campaign. Various sources have reported over the last month that Kiffin turned down interest from LSU, Florida, Miami and whatever other schools out there may or may not have a coaching vacancy.
Oregon undoubtedly would offer Kiffin an easier path towards the College Football Playoff and a National Championship. The Pac-12’s competition currently pales in comparison to the SEC, which will likely grow even tougher once Texas and Oklahoma join the conference. And as long as the Ducks continue to allow their student athletes to play dress up with a new set of threads every Saturday, recruits will continue to sign with made-for-millennials Oregon.
If Phil Knight is in fact attempting to pry Kiffin from the south, he’s got a whole caboose full of money that could lead to Kiffin wearing — and direct depositing — plenty of green next fall.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF