Lane Kiffin Admits He ‘Struggled’ With Criticism During Ole Miss-Auburn Decision

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Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin was nearly Auburn head coach Lane Kiffin, and he told ESPN Friday he struggled with that decision last fall.

It wasn’t so much the choice between Auburn or Ole Miss, though. Instead, Kiffin said, it was the public criticism he received in some corners for how he went about the process.

“We screw up all the time,” he told the outlet. “But when you think you’re doing the right thing and then you’re really criticized for it — especially by your own people — I struggled with that because I feel like I went through a decision-making process that you’re supposed to go through.

“I mean, you got to decide. It’s your life and your family’s life.”

Lane Kiffin.
Lane Kiffin talks Ole Miss-Auburn. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin talks Auburn decision during Ole Miss spring practice

Spoiler alert: Kiffin stayed at Ole Miss, and even signed a mega extension days after his decision went public.

Still, it was a long few weeks for the star coach, who was pretty obviously choice No. 1 for Auburn when former coach Brian Harsin was fired on Halloween.

The next few weeks were tense, with speculation about Kiffin’s future in Oxford running rampant. Some in the news even announced that Lane already had one foot in the Auburn door, which led to an egg-in-the-face moment on Twitter.

Not great!

Anyway, Kiffin eventually told the Rebels his decision to stay with the program the night before the Egg Bowl, and soon signed a 6-year extension.

“I felt that it would have been a distraction to make this big statement 24 hours before the game and making it about me,” Kiffin said. “So, I thought I was doing the right thing by saying, ‘OK, I’m going to avoid making this about me, you guys go play. But just so you know, you don’t have to sit here and worry that your coach is leaving tomorrow after the game or something. I’m staying, I just haven’t made it known publicly.'”

Speaking to ESPN during spring practice, Kiffin admitted he’s come to terms with some of the anger, but hopes fans ultimately see past a rough few weeks last fall to his ultimate choice, which was to stay in Oxford.

“Sometimes the right thing to do doesn’t always go right in areas,” Kiffin said. “Which over time a lot of people have not done when they’ve been in similar situations, including that specific job, the Auburn job.”

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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